Two Storied Faculty Soccer Packages to Meet for First Time Ever in Phoenix on Dec. 28

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two faculty soccer applications with greater than 250 years’ value of historical past shall be assembly for the primary time ever when West Virginia faces Minnesota within the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday, Dec. 28.
Clarence SpearsThe Mountaineers, with 761 victories, and the Golden Gophers, with 717 wins, have been enjoying faculty soccer video games because the early Eighteen Nineties. Yet their solely gridiron hyperlink is Dr. Clarence Spears, who led West Virginia to information of 5-4-1, 10-0-1, 7-1-1 and 8-1 throughout a four-year interval from 1921 to 1924 earlier than shifting on to educate Minnesota in 1925. It was stated on the time that Spears’ need to follow on the Mayo Clinic performed a job in his resolution to take the Minnesota job.
Spears’ tenure in Minneapolis by no means fairly matched what he achieved in Morgantown, though he did win a share of a Big Ten title in 1927 earlier than shifting on to Oregon in 1930. Those had been two of seven totally different teaching jobs Spears held from 1917 till 1944 earlier than giving up the sport to pay attention full-time on his medical follow.
This shall be West Virginia’s 18th bowl look within the final 20 years and the second throughout Neal Brown‘s three-year tenure with the Mountaineers.
WVU rallied to defeat Army 24-21 in final yr’s Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, to snap a three-game bowl shedding streak.
Brown has gained all 4 bowl video games he is coached, together with three at Troy (two Dollar General Bowls and the New Orleans Bowl).
This shall be West Virginia’s fifth journey to Arizona to play a bowl recreation. 
The Mountaineers have performed twice within the Fiesta Bowl and shall be making their third look on this recreation, which was often known as the Bowl in 1998 and the Cactus Bowl in 2016.

“What better place to be in the month of December than Phoenix, Arizona?” Brown stated. “We’re looking forward to spending a few days in the desert. The Fiesta Bowl organization is known throughout college football as a (putting on a) premier event, and I know our staff, athletic administration and our players are fired up about being there.”


It shall be West Virginia’s 38th total bowl look courting again to 1922 when Spears led WVU to a 21-13 victory over Gonzaga within the East-West Bowl in San Diego, and the Mountaineers have gained 17 of them.


West Virginia’s greatest bowl wins had been towards Georgia within the 2006 Sugar, towards Oklahoma within the 2008 Fiesta and towards Clemson within the 2012 Orange Bowl.


Minnesota shall be enjoying its 22nd bowl recreation and its third underneath present coach P.J. Fleck, who’s 2-0 in bowl video games at Minnesota and 3-2 total. The Golden Gophers have defeated Georgia Tech 34-10 within the 2018 Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit and Auburn 31-24 within the 2020 Outback Bowl in Tampa throughout Fleck’s tenure.


His different three bowl appearances got here when he coached Western Michigan, together with a 2017 Cotton Bowl loss to Wisconsin.


Minnesota has gained 9 bowl video games in its historical past and snapped a seven-game bowl skid in 2015 when it defeated Central Michigan 21-14 within the Quick Lane Bowl.


Minnesota’s greatest bowl victory was a 21-3 conquer UCLA within the 1962 Rose Bowl.


The Golden Gophers made three straight journeys to the Bowl in 2006, 2008 and 2009, shedding to Virginia, Texas Tech and Kansas.


“We’re very honored to be in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl out there in Phoenix,” Fleck stated. “I do know it is the primary yr being the title sponsor, and we could not be happier. I could not be prouder of our workforce for incomes the best to return out to Phoenix and the Arizona space and we’re very excited.


“The hospitality is second to none. I know our alumni, our team, our families, our staff and our fans will have an absolute blast in the Phoenix area and the state of Arizona. We’re excited to be there in 70-degrees plus. Count us in any time we’re coming from Minnesota during the winter. We might even show up this week and start training now,” he added.


The Guaranteed Rate Bowl would be the solely bowl recreation matchup this yr pitting the Big Ten towards the Big 12.


It’s one in every of 5 bowl video games that day, the others being the Birmingham, First Responder, Liberty and Holiday bowls.


Tickets are presently on sale to most people via


The recreation will kick off at 10:15 p.m. ET and shall be televised nationally on ESPN.


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