The University of Nevada, Reno has accepted an invitation from the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and will face Southern Methodist University on Dec. 24, athletics director Cary Groth announced Sunday.
"The Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl is thrilled with the return of the Nevada Wolf Pack to our game," said David Matlin, the bowl's executive director. "Coach Ault is no stranger to our game and to the islands and we welcome his staff and players back to Honolulu. The Nevada and SMU match-up should provide a very exciting Christmas Eve game as folks tune in across the entire nation to watch our pigskin paradise match-up."
The Wolf Pack and Mustangs will kick off at 5 p.m. (Pacific) at Aloha Stadium and the game will be televised on ESPN. This is Nevada's fifth straight bowl game appearance and the second time that the Pack has been invited to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. In 2005, Nevada beat Central Florida 49-48 in overtime in Honolulu.
"We are certainly proud to be making our fifth-straight bowl appearance and we are excited to be returning to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and the tremendous experience that the bowl provides for our student-athletes," Groth said. "I want to congratulate Coach Ault, his staff and the team for a strong season and I want to thank our fans for their support of the program."
Nevada went 8-4 overall this season and was second in the Western Athletic Conference with a 7-1 mark. The Wolf Pack leads the nation in rushing and became the first school in NCAA history have three players rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.
"The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is a one-of-a-kind experience," Wolf Pack head coach Chris Ault said. "We're excited and looking forward to being a part of it again. SMU has a diverse offense and a sound defense that makes it a very good team."
Nevada and SMU have met five times previously, with each of the games taking place earlier this decade when SMU was a member of the Western Athletic Conference. The Wolf Pack leads the all-time series between the teams, 3-2.
"We're excited to play Nevada," SMU coach June Jones said. "Having played Nevada many times while I was at Hawaii, I have a great deal of respect for Coach Ault and his program. Their rushing attack will pose a stiff challenge, but we're really looking forward to the game."
This is Nevada's eighth trip to a bowl game as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Pack is 3-4 in those games. Nevada's last bowl victory was the overtime win over UCF in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in 2005.
Tickets for the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl will be available at the Nevada ticket office or by calling (775) 348-PACK.