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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Owls favor early bowl matchup

The football team will travel to Albuquerque, N.M on Wednesday morning to begin preparation for their game against Wyoming in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s contest, set for noon Mountain Time (2 p.m. EST), is the first game of the 2011-12 college football bowl season.

“I really like being first,” coach Steve Addazio said at a press conference on Monday. “Everyone will watch this game. In the middle of [the bowl season], it’s one bowl game after another and you lose sight of what game is when until the BCS games are played. I think this gives us an opportunity for a great audience.”

Addazio said he couldn’t be more pleased with the timing of the bowl. As opposed to playing in a bowl in late December, the early game has allowed the Owls to stay relatively on schedule.

“It’s really just a bye week,” Addazio said. “We tried to do the best we could to give the kids some time off, yet still get a number of practices to prepare our team for this football game.”

Addazio added that playing in an early bowl allows the student athletes to be able to finish their season before having to go home for winter break.

“It gives our players a chance to go compete at a high level and come home and enjoy the holidays with their families,” Addazio said.

Addazio said he expects redshirt-sophomore quarterback Chris Coyer to start on Saturday after recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered against Kent State on the Owls’ last game of the regular season.

“[My shoulder] is feeling great,” Coyer said. “The strength has been coming back a lot. I feel really confident about the game.”

Though the Owls (8-4) have already had one of the most successful seasons in school history, Addazio said the team is primed to pick up its ninth victory.

“This is our championship game, that’s how our kids are viewing this,” Addazio said. “We’re playing for a championship. We want this legacy and we want this for our football team.”

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