We’re bound for a Texas showdown we’ve never seen before at the FBS level.
The Rice Owls and Texas State Bobcats will stay in their home state and square off in the First Responder Bowl on Dec. 26.
Texas State (7-5, 4-4 Sun Belt) is bowl bound for the first time ever. The Bobcats are led by first-year head coach GJ Kinne who guided the Sun Belt program to their second winning season since joining the FBS. Texas State also secured a 7-5 record in 2012, but was not selected to participate in the postseason.
Rice (6-6, 4-4 Sun Belt) qualifies for its second-consecutive bowl appearance under head coach Mike Bloomgren. The Owls made it at 5-7 in 2022, but this year in their inaugural season as AAC members, the team attained the 6-win threshold for the first time since 2014. Rice seeks its first bowl appearance since that 2014 season, when it defeated Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl. With a victory, the Owls can seal their first winning season in nine years.
While Rice vs. Texas State has never transpired at the FBS level, this isn’t the first-ever meeting between Rice and Texas State, however. The programs last met in 1987 where the Owls defeated the Bobcats, 38-28. The all-time series is tied at 2-2.
The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl first launched in 2011, operating under previous names including the TicketCity Bowl and Heart of Dallas Bowl before adopting its current name in 2018.
The 2023 First Responder Bowl kicks off from Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas on Dec. 26 at 5:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN.