Army enters the bowl game with a regular season record of 9-2 and is playing as an independent. This is the Black Knights second consecutive year and third appearance in The Armed Forces Bowl, and third straight bowl appearance for the first time in program history. This game will also mark the program’s eighth all-time bowl appearance and Army is 5-2 in previous games. Important to realize that in those seven postseason visits all have been decided by a total of 26 points, and all by a touchdown or less. Most recently was the 42-35 win over San Diego State last year in the 2017 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
Jeff Monken is in his fifth season as head coach. In the past three seasons, Monken’s team is 27-10, including 19-5 in the past 24 games.
Houston enters the bowl game with an overall regular season record of 8-4 and 5-3 in The American Conference. The Houston Cougars will be making its sixth straight bowl appearance and its 12th bowl appearance in 14 seasons and their 26th overall bowl appearance. This is the Cougars fifth appearance in The Armed Forces Bowl. Houston made an impression in its last appearance in Fort Worth when the Cougars had the largest comeback ever in a bowl game that didn’t go into overtime. They defeated The Pitt Panthers, 35-34, after trailing 34-13 with 6:14 left in the game.
Major Applewhite is coaching his third bowl game as head coach of Houston, although he has yet to win a bowl game while at the helm. Most notably for Houston is their Consensus All-American defensive tackle, Ed Oliver who will NOT be playing in the bowl game, he will instead be focusing his energy on preparing for the NFL draft.
Houston struggled the end of the season with three losses in the last four games. Moreover, the prolific Cougar offense will be without quarterback D’Eriq King, who is out with an injury. King had 36 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. Meanwhile, their defense was ranked 125th in the nation, even with All-American Oliver. Houston and Applewhite struggle in postseason play and they will have their hands full in Fort Worth.
Meanwhile, the Black Knights finished the season second in the nation for rushing offense and their defense ranked 11th. Monken and Army’s debilitating triple-option attack has kept defenses on their toes this season. Their quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. has a chance to eclipse 1,000 passing yards this season as he enters the game with 956. This is the second consecutive 10 win season fort he Black Knights which they have not accomplished since 1996. The Black Knights should have no problem making easy work of the Cougars. Also, with a bowl game win over Houston Army could make it into the end of season top 25.
12:00-Noon: The festivities will begin with the kickoff luncheon. The guest speaker this year is College Football Hall of Fame tight end Jay Novacek of the Dallas Cowboys. The event will be held in the Texas Ballroom at the Omni Fort Worth where both teams, coaches, and the fans can gather to celebrate and honor our armed forces and their members. Limited tickets available to the public and can be purchased here.
10:30 am – 2:00 pm and is free to the public. There will be an exhibition area with food trucks, live music, interactive displays. Also featured will be Veterans Village hosted by the American Red Cross it is comprised of non-profit military organizations that provide assistance to our veterans. There will be plenty of fun for football fans of all ages. It is located outside Amon G. Carter Stadium in Lot 3.
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm Be sure to be in the stadium so you won’t miss a goosebump or a minute of the pomp and circumstance with a parachute team, the annual flyover, as well as team band performances, and the National Anthem.
2:30 pm Time for KICKOFF! The game will feature several military tributes, as well as The Purple Heart Award, The Armed Forces Merit Award, and the Great American Patriot Awardpresentations. Throughout the game, several charity organizations and its members will be recognized, as it takes a village to support our military families. Be sure to stay until the end and enjoy a spectacular fireworks display.
Don’t miss the Wall of Heroes, a picture mosaic created by public submissions of Americans who have served in our armed forces.
Date: December 22, 2018
TV: ESPN and Watch ESPN App
Time: 2:30pm CST
Location: Amon G. Carter Stadium – Fort Worth, Texas