Published On: Mon, Dec 3rd, 2018

UAB Blazers to Take on NIU Huskies in 2018 Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl

This year’s Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl will feature the Northern Illinois Huskies from the Mid- American Conference and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers from Conference USA.

The 2018 Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m. ET, at FAU Stadium. It is the only matchup this season outside of the New Year’s Six hosting two conference champions. The game will be aired live on ESPN before a national audience and globally on ESPN’s affiliates around the world.

Northern Illinois finished the season 8-5 overall after becoming the 2018 MAC Champion under sixth-year head coach Rod Carey. NIU has won four MAC Championships (1983, 2011, 2012, 2014) and has played in ten postseason bowl games since 2004, most notably the 2014 Inaugural Boca Raton Bowl. Junior defensive end Sutton Smith became the first Huskie to win back-to-back MAC Defensive Player of the Year awards. NIU is ranked No.1 in total defense and leads the country in quarterback sacks.

“We’re really excited to go back to Boca Raton,” said NIU head coach, Rob Carey. “Last time we were there in the inaugural game it was a fantastic bowl experience. It’s part of the mission to be in a bowl every year and we’ve done that all but one year [since 2008], so I’m super happy for our seniors and our team. There is a part of this that is a reward for everything these student-athletes do, but the best part of it is we get to compete as a team together again.”

UAB finished the season 10-3 overall under head coach Bill Clark after claiming the team’s first Conference USA championship. In the two years since UAB’s program has been reinstated, the Blazers have played to an overall record of 17-8 and a league mark of 13-3. The 13 C-USA wins are the most of any school in that two-year span. The team is also ranked in the top-10 in seven different statistical categories. Sophomore running back Spencer Brown is ranked seventh in the nation for rushing offense with 15 rushing touchdowns and has scored at least one rushing touchdown in 10 of 12 games.

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