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After improving to 6-1, Army is first FBS team to accept 2020 bowl bid

The Black Knights accepted a bid to the Independence Bowl on Saturday after thumping Mercer.

NCAA Football: Mercer at Army Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth time in Jeff Monken’s tenure as head coach of Army, the Black Knights are going bowling.

After beating Mercer 49-3 on Saturday to improve to 6-1, Army accepted an invite to the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. It is likely that the Black Knights will face a team from the Pac-12 in the game.

Army is the first team in college football to accept a bowl invite this season.

The Black Knights last played in the Independence Bowl in 1996, where they lost 32-29 to Auburn. Army is 3-0 in bowl games under Monken, most recently beating Houston 70-14 in the 2018 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

“We are absolutely delighted to extend a bowl invitation to the Army West Point Black Knights football team,” Independence Bowl Chairman Frank Auer said in a statement. “The Independence Bowl celebrates the independence and freedoms we enjoy in America, and we are well aware that those freedoms are protected by our Army and the other armed forces. We deeply appreciate the role they play in our national landscape and will roll out the red carpet for them for their trip to Shreveport.”

Army has a tie-in with the Independence Bowl this season, meaning the Black Knights are contractually obligated to play in it, as long they became bowl eligible. The only way Army would play in a different bowl game this season is if they were invited to an NY6 Bowl or the College Football Playoff — both of which are extremely unlikely to happen. Army also has Independence Bowl tie-ins in 2022 and 2024.

The game will be broadcast on an ESPN channel.

“What an exciting day for our team — to play as well as we did and to win the game and accept a bid to a historic bowl game, the Independence Bowl in Shreveport — just a really thrilling day for our team,” Monken said after the win over Mercer. “I’m just proud of their effort and how hard we played and how well we executed for most of the day. There’s a few things that we had to correct, and those probably stood out to everybody, but our guys after the first drive on defense did a tremendous job of slowing them down and I’m really happy with the offense being able to sustain some drives and get the ball down there in scoring position and punch it in for touchdowns.”

Army received 44 votes in the latest AP Top 25 Poll and is ranked No. 25 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll. The Black Knights are off this week, then host rival Air Force on Nov. 7.