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Navy Accepts Invite to Emerald Bowl

Tuesday, November 23, 2004; Page D02

Navy has accepted an invitation to play in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 30, Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk said yesterday.

Navy (8-2) will face New Mexico (7-4) or Wyoming (6-5) of the Mountain West Conference at SBC Park in a game that has a per-team payout of $750,000. Navy, which lost to Texas Tech in the Houston Bowl last year, made back-to-back bowl appearances just once before -- in the 1980 Garden State Bowl and 1981 Liberty Bowl.

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"The city out there is wonderful and we have a lot of alumni on the West Coast," Gladchuk said. "We wanted to go somewhere that was attractive and how do you beat San Francisco? It's a wonderful place."

The Midshipmen, with their best record since 1996, close the regular season against Army (2-8) on Dec. 4 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

"To our team, there is no bowl game until after the Army game," Navy Coach Paul Johnson said.

Navy's opponent hinges on the Las Vegas Bowl, which has priority over Mountain West teams and will choose between New Mexico or Wyoming. The Las Vegas Bowl will likely make its choice by the end of the week, said Tina Kunzer-Murphy, the executive director of the Las Vegas Bowl.

-- Jon Gallo

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