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Naval Academy Going Bowling!

Lightning has struck for a third time in three years for the United States Naval Academy football team.

The 6-4 Midshipman, coming off a win over Temple last Saturday, have accepted an invitation to play in the inaugural San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Thursday, Dec. 22 at 10:30 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California against a Mountain West Conference opponent.

The game will be televised by ESPN2.

The bowl bid is a landmark achievement for the Academy program as it marks the first time in school history that Navy has gone to three straight bowl games.

During a late afternoon press conference yesterday in Annapolis, Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk said, &uot;blue sky, 72 degrees, palm trees and sunshine in December works for us.&uot;

&uot;A beautiful setting in a Navy city in one of the finest football venues in the country has everyone excited.&uot; Gladchuk continued.

&uot;We have had discussions with the Poinsettia Bowl executives for quite a while and their attention to detail and enthusiasm for our team and fans leads one to believe that this will be our finest bowl experience yet.

Three bowl games in a row is historic for the Academy and our congratulations to Coach Johnson, his staff and our players for reaffirming that Navy is one of the finest football programs in the nation.&uot;

Concluded Gladchuk, whose team faces arch rivals West Point on December 3rd, &uot;Let’s beat Army first, then take on the Mountain West for a fantastic finish to a historic season.&uot;

&uot;What better way to kick off San Diego’s newest bowl game than to have the United States Naval Academy as one of the teams,&uot; said Poinsettia Bowl President Doug Sawyer.

&uot;We couldn’t be happier that the Naval Academy has accepted our invitation.&uot;

During the same news conference Navy Head Football Coach Paul Johnson, who has been credited with turning around the Navy football team, was his usual understated self.

&uot;I’m excited the team has achieved one of their goals, to have a chance to go to a bowl game, and I’m excited to be going to San Diego,&uot; Johnson said.

&uot;I was lucky enough when I coached in Hawaii to play there in the Holiday Bowl.

It’s a great city and I’m sure the kids will have a great time.

We are excited about it.

We will talk about it today and then put it on the back burner.

After today we won’t mention it again until after the Army-Navy game.

It’s good to get it out of the way now.

There’s no question where our focus needs to be and will be.&uot;

The bid also came with a bonus as the Middies will be invited to play in the Poinsettia Bowl in 2008, 2009 or 2010 if the team is bowl eligible, which means getting six wins or more.

Even more a bonus – Navy can pick the year!