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Broncos will play in first International Bowl

Nov. 29, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University has accepted an invitation to the inaugural International Bowl Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007, at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. The football Broncos, playing in their first bowl game since the 1988 California Bowl, will face an opponent to be named from the Big East Conference.

The game will air live on ESPN2 in the United States and TSN in Canada beginning at noon Eastern Time Jan. 6. It will be the first time a bowl game has been played outside of United States since the 1937 Bacardi Bowl in Havana, Cuba.

"We are extremely thrilled to welcome Western Michigan to the 2007 International Bowl," said Ken Hoffman, the International Bowl's executive director. "The Broncos continue to grow under the leadership of coach [Bill] Cubit. They have a large alumni following and should bring thousands of fans into the city for bowl week."

WMU finished the 2006 regular season with an 8-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the Mid-American Conference. The eight wins are the most since the Broncos posted nine during the 2000 campaign.

The Broncos boast the conference's best total defense and the nation's sixth-ranked rushing defense, holding opponents to just 71.92 yards-per-game on the ground. WMU has held the opposition to less than 10 net yards rushing on four occasions, including holding Akron to -13 yards on 20 carries in the season finale. WMU also leads the country in interceptions with 22.

"We are very excited to be participating in the inaugural International Bowl. Toronto is a great city, and it will provide our student-athletes with an excellent life experience. We have no doubt that this bowl, ran by Ken Hoffman, will be one of the top bowls in the country," says head coach Cubit.

WMU is led offensively by sixth-year senior Ryan Cubit, who is just 46 yards from eclipsing the 2,000-yard mark for the season and already has a career-high 15 touchdown passes this season. Cubit has thrown at least one scoring strike in nine-straight games this year and a season-best three at Ball State on Oct. 21. The Broncos also boast a potent running attack with Mark Bonds over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.

Five Broncos were all-conference selections this season and linebacker Ameer Ismail was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

The MAC will have four teams in a bowl game, which is the second most in conference history. Five conference teams made it tobowl games in 2004. Since 1999, MAC teams have a combined 10-5 bowl record, which is the highest winning percentage among all Division 1-A conferences during that period.

Arrangements for game tickets, lodging and pre-game events for Bronco fans will be available on the Web at www.wmich.edu/gobroncos as soon as they are finalized.

Media contact: Mat Kanan, (269) 387-4125, mat.kanan@wmich.edu

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