MUNCIE, Ind. — The Ball State football team, champion of the Mid-American Conference, has accepted an invitation to the Arizona Bowl. 

The Cardinals will face Mountain West Conference champion San Jose State at noon MT (2 p.m. ET) Thursday, Dec. 31 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson. The game will be televised by CBS. 

“We are thrilled for the honor to represent the MAC at the Arizona Bowl against an incredibly talented team in San Jose State,” Neu said. “Our team has worked so hard and persevered through so much to become champions and to earn the chance to play on a stage like this. We are thankful to CBS, the Arizona Bowl and the MAC for their work in making this game happen despite the obstacles of this year. It’s a tremendous opportunity for this special group to continue an amazing ride, and we can’t wait to play in Tucson.” 

San Jose State (7-0) is ranked No. 25 in the latest AP poll and defeated Boise State in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game. Ball State (6-1) just handed No. 23 Buffalo its first loss to win the program’s first MAC Championship since 1996, completing a remarkable turnaround in Neu’s fifth season at his alma mater. 

The Cardinals are now set for their 10th bowl appearance in program history and their first since the GoDaddy Bowl following the 2013 season. 

“This 2020 Ball State football team has made our campus, our community, our alumni and our fans all so proud,” Director of Athletics Beth Goetz said. “Coach Neu, his staff and our student-athletes are proof of what can be accomplished with a vision, belief and unwavering commitment. It is clearly evident the joy this team has in playing for one another, and there is no one more deserving of this opportunity than our Cardinals. 

“We know the Arizona Bowl offers a first-class experience, and we are thankful to their organization and Executive Director Kym Adair for the invitation. Congratulations to San Jose State on winning their conference championship. We look forward to a great matchup.” 

Ball State enters the game riding a six-game winning streak. A seventh straight win would mean the program’s first bowl victory.