The Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, benefiting the USO, today announced that the United States Naval Academy and the University of Virginia have accepted invitations to play in the 10th anniversary Military Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 28 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on ESPN.

“We are thrilled to renew this regional matchup in our 10th anniversary game,” Military Bowl President & Executive Director Steve Beck said. “Navy and Coach Ken Niumatalolo annually show that they deserve a place in college football’s upper echelon and we are happy to welcome Virginia back to the postseason. Congratulations to Coach Bronco Mendenhall for the work he has done turning around the Cavaliers. We look forward to a great Bowl Week in Washington and another awesome gameday in Annapolis.”

Navy (6-5) will be making its third appearance in the National Capital Region’s bowl game. The Midshipmen lost to Wake Forest, 29-19, in the inaugural EagleBank Bowl at RFK Stadium in 2008 and beat Pittsburgh, 44-28, in the 2015 Military Bowl in Annapolis.

This will be the 14th bowl appearance in 15 years for Navy, which concludes its regular season by playing Army on Saturday, Dec. 9 in Philadelphia. Led by defensive end D.J. Palmore, the Midshipmen finished third in the American Athletic Conference West Division.

Led by a group of seniors focused on setting a “New Standard,” Virginia (6-6) will be making its first bowl appearance since 2011. It will be the Cavaliers’ first-ever appearance in the Military Bowl.

Quarterback Kurt Benkert and linebacker Micah Kiser – both Maryland natives – and free safety Quin Blanding have led the Virginia turnaround.

This will be the 40th meeting between the two schools, but the first since 1994. Navy leads the all-time series, 28-11, but Virginia is riding a five-game winning streak in the series, beating the Midshipmen annually from 1990 to 1994, including a 47-10 victory in Annapolis on Sept. 10, 1994.

Virginia’s coach at that time was George Welsh, who guided the Cavaliers from 1982 to 2000 and is the all-time winningest coach in school history. Welsh previously coached Navy from 1973 to 1981 and his 55 victories at the academy are second only to Niumatalolo.

Starting at $25, Military Bowl tickets can be purchased online at or by calling Ticket Alternative at 877-725-8849. Proceeds from the Bowl also benefit Patriot Point, the Military Bowl’s 290-acre retreat for recovering service members, their families and caregivers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

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