MYRTLE BEACH, SC – Appalachian State and North Texas are set to meet in the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl on Monday, Dec. 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN. The game will be played at Brooks Stadium on the campus of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC.
“Though this year has been challenging for so many, we are thrilled to be able to bring two great teams to the Grand Strand to compete in the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl,” said Rachel Quigley, executive director of Myrtle Beach Bowl. “As the first bowl game to be hosted in South Carolina, we hope the game will be something positive for our community and for people throughout our great state.”
The Myrtle Beach Bowl is the first NCAA-sanctioned bowl game to be played in the state of South Carolina.
“We are very excited to welcome North Texas and Appalachian State to the Grand Strand for the 2020 Myrtle Beach Bowl,” said Karen Riordan, president & CEO, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “We hope the players, coaches and their fans will have an opportunity to take advantage of the experience during their stay.”
“Coastal Carolina University is excited to work with ESPN Events and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to host the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl and help promote the greater Grand Strand Community,” said Matt Hogue, Athletic Director, Coastal Carolina Univeresity. “We look forward to two great teams celebrating their successful seasons by competing on the Teal Turf at Brooks Stadium.”
This will be the first-ever meeting between Appalachian State and North Texas. The Mean Green played in the Sun Belt Conference from 2001-12 and won four straight conference championships (2001-04). North Texas joined Conference USA in 2013. ASU did not join the Sun Belt Conference until the 2014 season.
Appalachian State (8-3, 6-2 Sun Belt) is averaging 10.3 wins per season over the last six years. The Mountaineers have won at least eight games in all six seasons. ASU has four 10-win seasons, including a school-record 13 wins in 2019. ASU won four straight Sun Belt Conference championships from 2016-19.
The Mountaineers finished second in the Sun Belt Conference East Division this season under first-year head coach Shawn Clark, who is the school’s third head coach in the last three seasons. The Mountaineers closed the season with a 34-26 win at Georgia Southern this weekend. Appalachian State has had success because of its defense. ASU leads the Sun Belt Conference in total defense (313.5) and ranks second in scoring defense (19.3) and passing defense (169.8).
Appalachian State is a perfect 5-0 in its bowl history. The Mountaineers played in their inaugural bowl game at the 2015 Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., and defeated Ohio, 31-29. The following year, ASU made it two straight Camellia Bowl wins with a 31-28 win over Toledo. Appalachian State shut out Toledo 34-0 in the 2017 Dollar General Bowl in Mobile. ASU posted wins over Middle Tennessee (45-13) in the 2018 New Orleans Bowl and UAB (31-17) in the 2019 New Orleans Bowl.
North Texas (4-5, 3-4 Conference USA) will bring some momentum to Myrtle Beach following its 45-43 win over UTEP on Dec. 11. Senior wide receiver Jaelon Darden continued his record-setting career in the win over the Miners. Darden is now the program’s all-time leader in receptions (230), receiving yards (2,782) and touchdowns (19). He is second in school history with 39 total touchdowns.
For the season, Darden has 74 catches for 1,190 yards and an FBS-leading 19 touchdowns. He ranks third nationally in receiving yards and receiving yards per game (132.2) in 2020.
North Texas is making its 11th all-time bowl appearance, with nine of those games coming since the 2001 season. North Texas bowl history dates back to the 1948 Salad Bowl. Nevada posted a 13-6 win over North Texas on Jan. 1, 1948 in Phoenix. North Texas suffered a 28-8 loss to New Mexico State in the 1959 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. The Mean Green would go 42 years before its next bowl appearance. North Texas played in four straight bowls in 2001-04 and 2014-18.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of 35 collegiate sporting events nationwide. The roster includes four early-season college football games, 17 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 400 hours of live programming, reaches nearly 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in more than 10 markets across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.