MARSHALL, NORTHERN ILLINOIS TO FACE OFF IN THE INAUGURAL BOCA RATON BOWL

Boca Raton, Fla. (December 7, 2014)-  Two conference champions, the Marshall University Thundering Herd from Conference USA and the Northern Illinois University Huskies from the Mid-American Conference, will meet in the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl, as announced jointly by the conferences and the bowl.

The game will be played on Tuesday, Dec. 23 in FAU Stadium on the campus of Florida Atlantic University. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.

“I could not be more excited about the matchup for the first-ever Boca Raton Bowl,” said Boca Raton Bowl Executive Director Doug Mosley. “We have two great champions squaring off in what will surely be a must-see game, and our community is ready to welcome these two schools to Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.”

In addition to Marshall and Northern Illinois both finishing atop their conferences, both teams feature explosive offenses, leading their respective conferences in rushing. Marshall averages 275.6 yards per game while Northern Illinois averages 252.0 yards per game. Marshall ranks second in the country in total offense with 563.4 yards per game, and averages 45.1 points per game, fifth nationally behind four of the nation’s top six teams, Baylor, TCU, Oregon and Ohio State. Northern Illinois averages an impressive 32.2 points per game and 442.5 yards per game.

Marshall (12-1, 7-1 C-USA) enters the game having won its first ever Conference USA Championship, and its first title since being crowned the champion of the Mid-American Conference in 2002. The Thundering Herd are led by South Florida native Rakeem Cato, a graduate of Miami Central High School, who holds the NCAA FBS record for most consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass (45). In addition to Cato who ranks 8th nationally in passing yards with 3,622 yards, Marshall’s offense also features running back Devon Johnson who ranks 6th nationally in rushing yards with 1,636 yards.

Northern Illinois (11-2, 7-1 MAC) won its third Mid-American Conference Championship in four years this season and fourth in school history. The Huskies’ 11 win season marks the fifth consecutive season they have accomplished such a feat. Quarterback Drew Hare leads the Huskies’ offense with 2,097 passing yards and 17 touchdowns, accompanied by the team’s leading rusher Camer Stingily, averaging 74.6 yards per game, and leading receiver Da’Ron Brown, averaging 77.1 yards per game. The Huskies also played in a South Florida bowl after the 2012 season, meeting Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl.

The 2014 Boca Raton Bowl will be played on December 23, at FAU Stadium on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla. The Boca Raton Bowl is currently accepting online applications for media credentials for the 2014 Boca Raton Bowl. Accredited media can access the application by logging on to http://espnevents.com/boca-raton-bowl/media/. For additional information about the 2014 Boca Raton Bowl, photos or logos, please visit bocaratonbowl.wpengine.com or e-mail media@thebocabowl.com.

The Boca Raton Bowl is one of 11 postseason bowl games owned-and-operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes two Labor Day weekend college football games; 11 college bowl games and eight college basketball events, which accounts for approximately 200 hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over a half a million attendees each year. With satellite offices in Boca Raton, Boise, Birmingham, Dallas-Fort Worth, Albuquerque, St. Petersburg and Las Vegas, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Orlando, Fla.) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball
Armed Forces Classic (U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, PR); DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s & Women’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona (New York City & Notre Dame, Ind.); Orlando Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan, PR) and State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis)

For more information, visit www.espnevents.com or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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ESPN Media Contact: Rachel Margolis Siegal at 860-766-2798 or rachel.m.siegal@espn.com or Kacie Albert at media@thebocabowl.comor 305-341-4785.