Washington, D.C. – The 2012 Military Bowl could prove to be a stout defensive battle when San Jose State meets Bowling Green in Washington, D.C. on December 27.
San Jose State defensive end Travis Johnson is the WAC and school career record holder for quarterback sacks and a 2012 CollegeFootballPoll.com All-American. Falcon defensive lineman Chris Jones is an FWAA All-American and the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
The Spartan defense ranks in the top-25 nationally in fumble recoveries (2nd), quarterback sacks (5th), turnovers gained (8th), rushing defense and tackles for loss (19th), and scoring defense (25th).
Jones leads a Falcon defense that went into the bowl season ranked 7th in total defense, 2nd against the run and 7th against the pass. Jones is tied for 9th in tackles for loss (19) with the aforementioned Johnson of San Jose State. He is also a half-sack off the national lead with 12.5 and a half-sack ahead of Johnson.
Kent Baer, San Jose State's defensive coordinator since 2010, will add the duties of interim head coach for the Spartans after former head coach Mike MacIntyre accepted the same position at Colorado on December 10.
Ron Caragher was hired as San Jose State's new head coach on December 17 but will not coach in the bowl game. Caragher's University of San Diego (FCS) teams won three conference championship in his six years as head coach while he compiled a 44-22 record.
San Jose State accepted its invitation on November 30 after winning its final six regular season games to rise to No. 24 in both the Congrove Computer Rankings (CCR Top 124) and the final BCS Standings. The Spartans are 10-2, including wins over bowl-eligible San Diego State, Navy, BYU and Louisiana Tech.
SJSU finished second in the WAC after being picked by the computer to finish 3rd at 7-5. Instead, the Spartans' completed their first 10-win campaign since 1987 and a victory over Bowling Green would give the school its first 11-win season since 1940.
San Jose State is 5-3 all-time in bowl games. This is only the second time the school has played in a bowl game outside the state of California. It is also the Spartans' first bowl appearance since a 20-12 victory over New Mexico in the 2006 New Mexico Bowl and only their second since 1990.
The San Jose State offense is led by junior quarterback David Fales, who leads the nation in passing accuracy (72.1). Wide receiver Noel Grigsby set a school record for career receptions, and tight end Ryan Otten are the top targets for an offense that averaged 35.3 points per game.
Bowling Green's acceptance of an invitation was announced on December 3rd after the Falcons went on a late-season run, winning seven of their final eight regular season games and losing only to MAC East champion Kent State.
The computer's preseason forecast nailed BGSU's final overall and conference records (8-4, 6-2), as well as its placement in the final MAC East standings (2nd).
This is BGSU's first bowl trip since a 43-42 loss to Idaho in the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl. Bowling Green is 4-4 all-time in bowl games after coming up short in their last two bowl appearances since capturing the 2004 GMAC Bowl.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams and the Congrove Computer Rankings have this listed as the tightest bowl game of the postseason, giving Bowling Green a two-thousandths of a point (0.002) edge.