Washington State Cougars arrive today for Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium

Posted at 6:24 AM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 09:24:06-05
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The Washington State football team is scheduled to arrive in San Diego Thursday, one day before Minnesota, its opponent in Tuesday's 39th annual Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.
The Cougars will stay at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego and practice at Mesa College in Clairemont.
There are 12 Washington State players from the San Diego area, including right guard Eduardo Middleton and cornerback Darrien Molton from San Diego, both starters.
The Golden Gophers have one Californian on their roster, receiver Adam Mayer from Walnut Creek.
Minnesota will stay at the Hilton Bayfront downtown and at Southwestern College in Chula Vista.
The teams will jointly tour the America-class amphibious assault ship USS America on Saturday. Washington State will visit the San Diego Zoo on Sunday, the same day Minnesota goes to SeaWorld.
Washington State (8-4) finished second in the Pac-12 Conference's six- team North Division. The Cougars enter the Holiday Bowl on a two-game losing streak, with both losses coming to the conference's division champions, Colorado and Washington.
Washington State will be making its third appearance in the Holiday Bowl game and first since 2003 when it defeated Texas, 28-20. The Cougars lost to Brigham Young, 38-36 in 1981, in a game it trailed 31-7 early in the second half.
The Holiday Bowl gets the second choice among Pac-12 teams following the New Year's Six games, behind the Alamo Bowl, which selected Colorado.
The Golden Gophers (8-4) will be making their first Holiday Bowl appearance and first bowl game appearance in California since the 1962 Rose Bowl Game when it defeated UCLA, 21-3.
Minnesota will be playing in California for the first time since Sept. 3, 2011 when they lost to USC, 19-17.
The Holiday Bowl's contract with the 14-team Big Ten Conference guarantees it a "top-tier team," said Mark Neville, the executive director of San Diego Bowl Game Association, which operates the Holiday Bowl.
This will be the first meeting between the teams since 1988. Washington State leads the series, 3-2, with all the games being played in Minneapolis.