PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State University Cougars accepted an invitation to play in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl Saturday, Dec. 21, at 11 a.m. (PST), Gildan New Mexico Bowl Executive Director Jeff Siembieda announced Sunday.

“It’s great to be able to welcome the Washington State Cougars back to the college football post season, and for the first time have them in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl,” said Siembieda. “The Cougs are an exciting team with a marquee passing attack and a passionate fan base that has been very vocal about wanting to be here with their team. And it’s great to have head coach Mike Leach on the sidelines in Albuquerque. Local football fans have been yearning to see him here for a long time.”

The Gildan New Mexico Bowl will feature the Washington State Cougars against the Colorado State Rams (7-6) from the Mountain West Conference. This will mark the first meeting between the two teams. Under second-year head coach Mike Leach, the Cougars finished the regular season 6-6 overall, 4-5 in the Pac-12 and bowl eligible for the first time since the 2006 season.

“Playing in a bowl game will be a fabulous experience for Washington State and a just reward for this team,” said Washington State Director of Athletics Bill Moos. “Over the past few weeks I have had the chance to talk with many bowl representatives and I believe the Gildan New Mexico Bowl will be a great event and something our fans, players and coaches will truly enjoy.”

Washington State is making its first bowl appearance since 2003 and 11th overall as a program. It will be the first appearance at the New Mexico Bowl as WSU has previous played in the Rose Bowl (1916, 1931, 1998, 2003), the Holiday Bowl (1981, 2003), the Aloha Bowl (1988), The Copper Bowl (1992), the Alamo Bowl (1994) and the Sun Bowl (2001). The Cougars are 6-4 in bowl games all time.

“Throughout my career I have played in New Mexico a lot of times, I’ve visited New Mexico, I’ve skied in New Mexico and it’s a great place,” said Washington State Head Coach Mike Leach. “There is a great spirit to the people there and we are honored to have the opportunity to go to Albuquerque to play another football game.”

Tickets for the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl may be ordered through wsucougars.com beginning Sunday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. PT. Fans may also call the Cougar Ticket Office at 1-800-GO-COUGS starting at 9 a.m., Monday morning. Tickets information is also available at GildanNewMexicoBowl.com.

The New Mexico Bowl began in 2006 and only one previous time has it hosted a Pac-12 team, last season when Arizona won a shootout over Nevada, 49-48.

The Gildan New Mexico will be televised live nationally by ESPN, and will be the first of 35 bowl games to be played over the next month.

Additional information on the 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl is available at www.GildanNewMexicoBowl.com.