No. 13 Washington State and No. 24 Iowa State have accepted invitations to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl on December 28 at 8 p.m. in San Antonio’s 65,000-seat Alamodome.
"We’re excited to welcome these two programs to the Valero Alamo Bowl,” Bowl President/CEO Derrick Fox said. “The opportunity to show off San Antonio for the first time to Iowa State and bring Washington State back to our game after 24 years is a privilege. Both teams have won seven of their last eight games and we’re excited to host these schools and their excited fan bases.”
Designated the home team and occupying the east sideline, Washington State is led by Head Coach Mike Leach. In his 7th season leading the Cougars, Leach coached Washington State to a 10-2 regular season record, its best record since 2003.
This season Washington State beat Pac-12 South Champion Utah, Oregon who was ranked No. 12 at the time of the game, and Stanford who was also ranked. A win in the Valero Alamo Bowl would mean the Cougars would set a program-high with 11 wins in a season.
The Cougar offense is led by quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who leads the nation in passing yards and the Pac-12 in nearly every passing category. Minshew II is Walter Camp Award finalist, the award for the country’s best quarterback. The senior has six 400-yard passing games and won multiple weekly accolades this season. The Cougars’ 38.3 points per game is good for 15th in the country and first in the Pac-12.
In addition to the prolific offense, the Cougar defense can hold its own too. They lead the Pac-12 in sacks, tallying 35 on the season. The defensive success up front doesn’t end there as Washington State’s rush defense ranks 4th in the conference, allowing 136 yards per game, the program’s best mark since 2006.
Iowa State is led by Head Coach Matt Campbell, who’s in his third season with the Cyclones. This year, he led Iowa State to eight regular season wins, the most since 1978. Their six conference wins are the most in school history.
This season, Iowa State has been stellar defensively as they’ve held 10 opponents below their season scoring average. They led the Big 12 in scoring defense and finished second in the conference in total defense.
Offensively the Cyclones are led by true freshman quarterback Brock Purdy who was inserted in the lineup in Iowa State’s fifth game. Since that time, the Cyclone offense has experienced a rejuvenation and is averaging over 400 yards of offense. Purdy has won Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors three times and ranks 4th among all quarterbacks in passer rating since he became a starter.
Purdy’s favorite target is Hakeem Butler, who holds the Iowa State records for both touchdowns and yards in a season – he also leads the country in yards per reception. But the Cyclone offense is balanced as they have All-American running back David Montgomery to rely on. Montgomery ranks 4th in the Big 12 in rushing yards and has double-digit touchdowns
Washington State (10-2) and Iowa State (8-4) will be meeting for the first time ever.
The Valero Alamo Bowl will kick off on Friday, December 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at www.alamobowl.com or the Alamodome Box Office.
Photo: Valero Alamo Bowl President/CEO Derrick Fox responds following announcement that Iowa State and Washington State would play in the Alamo Bowl.