Air Force to face Toledo in Military Bowl Dec. 28

Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson runs up the middle during the Air Force-Army game at Falcon Stadium Nov. 5, 2011. Jefferson rushed for 66 yards on 20 attempts with two touchdowns. The Falcons scored 21 points in the third quarter en route to a 24-14 victory over the Black Knights and their second consecutive Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Raymond Hoy)

U.S. Air Force Academy quarterback Tim Jefferson runs up the middle during the Air Force-Army game Nov. 5, 2011, at Falcon Stadium in Colorado. The Falcons, who finished the 2011 regular season 7-5, will face the University of Toledo Rockets in the Military Bowl Dec.. 28, 2011, in Washington D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Raymond Hoy)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Air Force will play Toledo in the 2011 Military Bowl in Washington Dec. 28 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, NCAA officials announced Dec. 4.

ESPN will televise the first meeting between the Falcons, who are in the Mountain West Conference, and the Rockets, who are in the Mid-American Conference.

"We're ecstatic," said Falcons Head Coach Troy Calhoun. "The Military Bowl ... is us. It's who we are. When the door opened, we thought this was a perfect fit. We're lucky to be able to get this and to go to Washington, D.C."

Air Force finished its season at 7-5 (3-4 MWC), highlighted by an overtime 35-34 win over Navy and a 24-14 win over Army to win its second-consecutive Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, a 37-26 loss to then-No. 5 Boise State and straight wins over MWC rivals UNLV and Colorado State. The Falcons are ranked No. 2 in the nation in rushing yards, averaging more than 320 yards per game.

Toledo also faced Boise State, falling 40-15 a week after a narrow 27-22 loss to then-No. 15 Ohio State. The Rockets are ranked eighth in the nation for overall points, with more than 42 points per game on average. They finished the regular season 8-4 (7-1 MAC) on wins over Michigan State, Central Michigan and Ball State wherein the Rockets scored a combined 155 points.

"I know some of the guys (who) play for Toledo, and I'm from just down the street in Cincinnati," said Air Force senior safety Jon Davis. "I'm pretty excited. To be able to play in the Military Bowl is amazing."

Air Force has won its last two straight bowl appearances, defeating Georgia Tech 14-7 in the 2010 Independence Bowl and beating Houston 47-20 in the 2009 Armed Forces Bowl. This is the Falcons' fifth-straight bowl appearance under Calhoun's tenure as head coach. The Rockets make their second bowl appearance in Coach Tim Beckman's three years, having lost to the Florida International Golden Panthers in the 2010 Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, 34-32.

The Military Bowl is sponsored by Northrop Grumman. Portions of the proceeds benefit the USO, with donations of more than $100,000 made in 2010. Tickets are available through TicketMaster or via the Military Bowl's website at www.militarybowl.org.

(Information compiled from Air Force Academy Athletics and staff reports.)