East Carolina has accepted a bid to return to the stadium where it clinched a winning season barely a week ago to face an opponent from the Atlantic Coast Conference in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, MD, on Dec. 27 (2:30 p.m., ESPN).
Military Bowl President and Executive Director Steve Beck issued the invitation on Saturday, noting, “East Carolina is in the midst of a terrific season and we can sense the excitement surrounding the team. We look forward to a great Bowl Week and game.”
The Military Bowl is played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the home field of the U.S. Naval Academy’s football team. ECU (7-5) defeated the host Midshipmen 38-35 on a 54-yard field goal as time expired on Saturday, Nov. 20.
The Pirates will represent the American Athletic Conference in the game in their first postseason appearance since a close loss to Florida in the 2014 Birmingham Bowl. ECU has posted its best record since closing that 2014 season with an 8-5 mark.
“The Pirate football program is ascending under Mike Houston’s leadership,” said ECU athletic director Jon Gilbert on accepting the bowl bid. “We have all witnessed the growth and improvement over the past three years and today’s announcement is a culmination of the hard work, sacrifice and dedication of the young men in our football program.”
This will be the Pirates’ second appearance in the Military Bowl. The Pirates fell to Maryland in the 2010 game, which set a Bowl attendance record with 38,062 fans.
“I’m excited for the young men in our program along with our coaches, staff and administration who have worked tirelessly over the last three years for this opportunity,” ECU coach Mike Houston said. “Everybody involved with our program put in the time and commitment to make this a season to remember.”
The 2021 Military Bowl presented by Peraton benefits the USO and Patriot Point, the Military Bowl Foundation’s retreat for wounded, ill and injured service members, their families and caregivers.
ECU Athletics is urging Pirate fans to order Military Bowl tickets through the ECU Athletic Ticket Office at ECUPirates.com or by calling the ticket office at (252) 328-4500.