WOAY – West Virginia will now play Army in the 2020 Liberty Bowl, which is still scheduled for December 31 in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Mountaineers were originally going to play Tennessee, but the Volunteers withdrew from the game after several players and head coach Jeremy Pruitt tested positive for COVID-19.
Army, which went 9-2 this season as an FBS independent, was originally going to play in the Independence Bowl, which was eventually canceled after multiple teams opted out of playing in a postseason game. The Black Knights were left without a bowl game with multiple games filling their slots through conference tie-ins, though several team (including Tennessee) had losing records.
“The opponent might have changed, but that’s it,” West Virginia University director of athletics Shane Lyons said in a statement. “As I said before, the Mountaineers are looking forward to playing in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and coming to Memphis. Our team deserves to be in a bowl and so does the 9-2 Army squad…..Army needed a bowl and an opponent, and the Mountaineers are glad to solve the problem.”
“I have great respect for the Army football tradition and the sacrifice the Cadets make daily for our country,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown added. “Coach Monken and his staff have done a terrific job at West Point with 43 wins in the last five years. We started the day preparing for one opponent and will end it preparing for another, but that’s how crazy 2020 has been.”
Army leads the all-time series 2-1, with West Virginia winning the most recent matchup 7-3 in 1961. All three previous games between the Mountaineers and Black Knights were in West Point, New York.