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Dec. 8, 2002

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia has accepted a bid to play West Virginia from the Big East Conference in the Continental Tire Bowl at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, Dec. 28. The game is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPN2.

“We are pleased to accept the bid to participate in the inaugural Continental Tire Bowl,” UVa Director of Athletics Craig Littlepage said. “With the interest generated by our team’s success this year and the geographic proximity of the bowl game to our fan base, this is not only a great opportunity for our football team, but a great opportunity for our fans to demonstrate their support for our team’s bowl efforts.”

Second-year head coach Al Groh guided a young Cavalier squad that featured as many as nine freshmen starters to a second-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season with a 6-2 league mark. UVa compiled an overall record of 8-5 while playing the 12th-toughest schedule in the country.

West Virginia completed the regular season with a 9-3 overall record and finished second in the Big East with a 6-1 league mark. The Mountaineers gained big wins over Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech and suffered their only conference loss to top-ranked Miami.

This is the first time the two teams have met in a bowl game. However, they have a long history of playing each other dating back to the first game in 1898. The Cavaliers have won 11 of 22 meetings, the Mountaineers 10 and one game ended in a tie. Virginia has won the last two times the teams have clashed by identical 27-7 scores in 1984 and 1985.

For his efforts in molding the Cavaliers into a successful team this season, Groh was recently named the ACC Coach of the Year.

“The Cavaliers are excited about the challenges and opportunities presented to our team and fans by this invitation to participate in the Continental Tire Bowl,” said Groh. “West Virginia is one of the hottest teams in the country and will be a formidable opponent. And, the close proximity of the game gives all Wahoo fans the opportunity to turn out in unprecedented record numbers. Let’s make orange and blue a part of Charlotte.”

Leading the way for the Cavaliers is ACC Player of the Year and first-team All-ACC quarterback Matt Schaub. The leading passer in the conference this season, Schaub has blossomed into one of the nation’s top signal callers and has almost completely rewritten the school record book. He has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 2794 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Billy McMullen, a first-team All-ACC selection for the second year in a row, is Schaub’s favorite target. He is among the conference leaders with 68 receptions for 886 yards and three touchdowns.

The defense is led by first-team All-ACC linebacker Angelo Crowell. A senior co-captain, Crowell has been in on 140 tackles this season and is the fourth-leading tackler in school history.

This is the Cavaliers’ first bowl game since they faced Georgia in the O’ahu Bowl in Hawaii two years ago. Overall the Continental Tire Bowl is the 13th bowl game in school history.

The UVa Athletic Ticket Office is currently accepting orders for tickets. Tickets may be purchased this week by calling the Ticket Office at 800/542-8821 or 434/924-8821.

The ticket office will be open with extended hours from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday (Dec. 9-13) and from noon-4 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 14) and Sunday (Dec. 15). The ticket office will return to its normal hours of operation from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 16.

Ticket prices range from $25-$65 based upon location.

“Due to anticipated demand for tickets for this bowl, we are expanding our hours of operation. I encourage fans to order their tickets as soon as possible,” said Athletic Ticket Manager Dick Mathias.

For UVa students, a special in-person sale will start Wed., Dec. 11, at the Ticket Office in Bryant Hall, located in the south end of Scott Stadium. Student tickets will be $40 and will require a valid UVa student I.D. at the time of purchase. Students wishing to be seated together should purchase their tickets at the same time due to reserved seating.

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