Conference USA East runner-up East Carolina will face Ohio in the 2013 Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on Monday, December 23 at Tropicana Field. ESPN will handle the broadcast.
East Carolina's 9-3 record was built on a pass-happy offense thast puts up 332 passing yards and 40 points per game. Junior quarterback Shane Carden has thrown for 3,866 yards and 32 touchdowns, including two games where he threw for more than 400 yards. Senior running back Vintavious Cooper is just five yards from a second consecutive 1,000-yard season, and has run for more than 90 yards in the Pirates' last three games.
After a hot start, the Ohio Bobcats lost three of their final four games to finish 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the MAC. Thrid-year starting quarterback Tyler Tettleton is posting yet another solid season, throwing for 2,623 yards with a 63 percent completion rate.
Rankings and records: Neither team is ranked or receiving votes in the major polls.
Vegas: East Carolina is a 13.5-point favorite Monday, with the over/under set at 62 points. OddsShark has more information.
Weather: The game's indoors, so it won't much matter, but St. Pete is looking for isolated storms and a high of 79 degrees.
Date and time, ET: Dec. 23, 2 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Stadium: Tropicana Field (42,735)
Tickets: Find available seats here.
Last year's score: Central Florida 38, Ball State 17
Last year's attendance: 21,759
Last year's TV rating: 1.3 (1.9 million viewers)
Last year's payout for each school: $537,500
Team with the most all-time appearances: Central Florida (2)
Team with the most all-time wins: UCF, Marshall, Louisville, Rutgers and South Florida each have won the bowl once.
Three names to know
Tyler Tettleton, QB, Ohio: The senior quarterback's play has been key to Ohio's success: The Bobcats are 6-1 in games where he throws for more than 200 yards, and just 1-4 in games where he fails to reach that mark. Ohio has similarly gone 1-4 in games where Tettleton throws for fewer than two touchdowns and 1-5 in games where Tettleton throws as many interceptions as he does touchdowns.
Ruffin McNeill, HC, East Carolina: McNeill, a former Mike Leach assistant at Texas Tech, has brought the Mad Pirate's offensive style to the actual Pirates. After two losing seasons, McNeill broke through with an 8-5 record and division title in 2012. McNeill has gone 0-2 in bowl games at East Carolina, though, and will be looking for his first bowl victory since filling in for a fired Leach in the 2009 Alamo Bowl.
Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina: ECU's top receiver is fifth nationally in receptions and catches per game and 13th in receiving yards. He also averages 11.3 yards per punt return, good for 23rd nationally.
Two things at stake
East Carolina is one win away from its first ten-win season since 1991, and first bowl win since 2007.
Ohio needs a victory to keep a four-year string of eight-win seasons intact. A win would also be Ohio's third consecutive bowl victory, an earth-shattering postseason winning streak for a program that had been to just two bowl games before Frank Solich became head coach in 2005.
How to witness
TV: ESPN's broadcast begins at 2 p.m. ET Monday, December 23.
Radio: The Ohio radio broadcast will be available on WXTQ 105.5 FM in Athens and throughout the Ohio Radio Network. East Carolina radio is available through the East Carolina IMG Radio Network.
Online streaming: ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app provide streaming services.
For more info on the Beef O'Brady's Bowl, check out SB Nation MAC community Hustle Belt.