A Christmas present came early for the Western Kentucky University football team as they were invited and accepted a bid to play the Georgia State Panthers in the Lending Tree Bowl this Saturday in Mobile, Alabama.

It is WKU’s seventh bowl appearance since 2012 and eighth overall. During that stretch, they won three consecutive bowl games from 2014-2016.

Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. and 1220 WFKN Radio will broadcast the game as part of the Hilltopper/IMG Big Red Radio Sports Network beginning at 1:30 p.m. with the Hilltoppers’ Tailgating Pre-Game Show.

The Hilltopprs, from Conference USA, are 5-6 overall for the season while the Panthers, who are from the Sun Belt Conference, have an overall record of 6-4.

The two teams have played each other twice before. In Nov. of 2013, WKU won 44-28 in their game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. Four years later, the two teams met in the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida with Georgia State coming away with the 27-17 victory in head coach Shawn Elliott’s first season.

The Hilltoppers currently are on a three-game winning streak with wins over: Southern Mississippi, Florida International and Charlotte. They are one of 10 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision that were able to play 11 games this season. They are ranked eighth nationally allowing 170.1 passing yards per game.

The Panthers have won three off its last four games allowing an average of 18.3 points and 334.7 yards per game. They average 3.56 sacks per game, ranked seventh nationally in the FBS.

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