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Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl 2013: Ohio To Play East Carolina In St. Petersburg

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Ohio is going bowling after all. The 'Cats get a chance to take on the ECU Pirates two days before Christmas on ESPN.

Al Messerschmidt

It's official, the Ohio Bobcats (7-5, 4-4 MAC) are going bowling for a fifth straight season. After some strange wheeling and dealing behind the scenes Ohio squeezed in ahead of Toledo and Central Michigan as the fifth and final Mid-American Conference team to go bowling this season. The Bobcats will face Conference-USA's East Carolina in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg on Monday Dec. 23. The game is scheduled to be be aired on ESPN at 2 p.m. (ET).

The 'Cats struggled down the stretch, dropping four out of five (including a loss to CMU) before pounding UMass on Black Friday to secure a winning season for the fifth straight year. Winners of two consecutive bowl games, and with the winningest senior class in program history set to graduate, it appears the people behind the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl found Ohio to be a sexier pick for the game than Toledo (which lost its season Finale to Akron) and Central Michigan (Which finished the season 6-6).

The MAC has a secondary tie-in with the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, which is in its fifth year. A spot for the MAC opened up after the American Athletic Conference was unable to fill its bowl allotments. Ohio's opponent for the game is East Carolina.

The Pirates concluded a 9-3 (6-2 C-USA) season with a 59-28 loss at Marshall on Black Friday. Outscoring opponents by an average of 40.4 to 25.2, ECU's three losses came to opponents with a combined record of 24-13.  ECU features one of the most prolific passing offenses in the nation, led by junior quarterback Shane Carden. The Houston native has thrown for 3,866 yards and 32 touchdowns while completing 71 percent of his passes and tossing just 10 picks.

ECU has been to a bowl game in six of the last seven seasons, but has lost four straight bowl games. The Pirates last win in a bowl game came in 2008. They beat Boise State 41-38 in the Hawaii Bowl.