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The Arizona State Sun Devils now know their bowl destination and it's not a completely unfamiliar one.
Coach Herm Edwards and his team are headed to the Las Vegas Bowl where they will take on Wisconsin (8-4), the third-place team out of the Big Ten, at 8:30 p.m. Arizona time on Dec. 30. That game will air on ESPN.
This matches the highest bowl placement (Pac-12 No. 3 team) for the Sun Devils since the 1996 Rose Bowl team (2007 & 2013 Holiday Bowl). Arizona State will serve as the home team in the contest.
"The Las Vegas Bowl invitation provides a tremendous opportunity for our team and coaching staff to compete against a quality Big Ten program and close out the 2021 season," Edwards said in a prepared press release. "We look forward to representing Arizona State University and the Sun Devil fans in Las Vegas. We are very excited to be able to play in Allegiant Stadium. A bowl game is a reward for a good season and I am grateful for our players and coaching staff to be able to enjoy this experience."
The Sun Devils (8-4), who finished second in the Pac-12 South, have played in bowl games in three of four years of the Edwards tenure. The exception was the COVID-19 season in 2020 which was shortened to four games. The Sun Devils were eligible to play in a postseason game that season but declined the option.
In their last bowl appearance under Edwards, ASU defeated Florida State in the 2019 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl. The Sun Devil defense forced six turnovers in a 20-14 victory, the 15th bowl win in program history.
ASU is 15-16-1 all-time in bowl games. This will be the third appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Sun Devils last played in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2018 and lost to Fresno State 31-20.
The Sun Devils also lost to Boise State 50-24 in 2011, then coached by Dennis Erickson.
The Las Vegas Bowl has become a more attractive bowl game since the Sun Devils last played in it, however. The game had previously been played at the old Sam Boyd Stadium, which was home to the UNLV football team from 1971 through the 2019 season.
The game is now played at the new Allegiant Stadium, a domed stadium located on about 62 acres west of Mandalay Bay and right off Interstate 15 and home to the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders.
The event also previously had a tie-in for Pac-12 and the Mountain West, but it is now a destination for teams out of the Big 10, starting this season. (The 2020 event was cancelled).
Wisconsin closed out its regular season with a 23-13 loss to Minnesota.
The Badgers are 17-15 overall in bowl games but this will be the first appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl. This will be the 20th straight appearance in a bowl game. They were most recently a 42-28 winner over Wake Forest in the Duke's Mayo Bowl.
The Sun Devils are expected to begin bowl preparations on Dec. 14.
It remains to be seen how many players might opt out of that contest. ASU running back Rachaad White has already said publicly he will do so in preparation for the NFL draft but plans to be there in support of his teammates.
"A new date, a new title sponsor, a new home and a new matchup featuring two national programs in Wisconsin and ASU is a perfect way to celebrate our 30th year," said SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl executive director John Saccenti. "We are breaking ground by hosting a world-renowned Big Ten team for the first time and are equally excited to welcome back the great ASU fans to the Entertainment and Sports Capital of the World. Las Vegas looks forward to being the home of the first postseason meeting between these two storied programs."
Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 9 a.m. on Monday and can be purchased by calling the Sun Devil Athletics Ticket Office at 480-727-0000. Fans are encouraged to support Sun Devil Athletics and purchase tickets through the Sun Devil Athletic Ticket Office as opposed to purchasing tickets through the bowl itself.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: ASU going to Las Vegas Bowl to face Wisconsin