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Temple will meet Wake Forest in Military Bowl

Temple had such a positive experience playing at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday that the Owls are headed back there for their bowl game.

Temple had such a positive experience playing at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday that the Owls are headed back there for their bowl game.

The Owls will face Wake Forest of the Atlantic Coast Conference in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Md. The game will be televised by ESPN.

Temple won the American Athletic Conference championship in the same stadium on Saturday, beating host Navy, 34-10.

On Sunday, Temple entered the national rankings for the first time this season. The 10-3 Owls, who have won seven in a row, were ranked 23rd by the Associated Press. The Owls were also ranked No. 24 in the College Football Playoff rankings and the USA Today coaches poll.

Temple would set a single-season record for wins with a victory in the bowl game.

Wake Forest (6-6) ended its season in opposite fashion. The Demon Deacons lost their last three games but still earned their first bowl bid since 2011.

This is the first time in school history that Temple will be competing in bowl games in consecutive seasons. It is Temple's sixth bowl appearance overall and the second in this bowl game. Temple lost to UCLA, 30-21, in 2009 in this bowl, which was then known as the Eagle Bank Bowl and played at RFK Stadium in Washington.

Temple's first choice a Cotton Bowl berth as the highest-ranked Group of Five team, but those hopes were dashed Friday when Western Michigan improved to 13-0 with a 29-23 win over Ohio in the Mid-American Conference championship.

Once that happened, Temple narrowed its interest to two AAC-bowl affiliated games, the Military Bowl and the Dec. 29 Birmingham Bowl.

The fact that Temple won on Saturday and sold out its allotment of 3,000 tickets played a major role in the decision.

"Once we won there [on Saturday] and saw the crowd there, we thought it was a tremendous opportunity for all the Temple people to come down and see us play an ACC team," Temple coach Matt Rhule said at an afternoon news conference.

Wake Forest and Temple have two common opponents, Tulane and Army. Wake beat Tulane in its opener, 7-3, and Temple won at Tulane, 31-0, on Nov. 19.

Wake lost to visiting Army, 21-13, on Oct. 29 and Temple lost to Army, 28-13, in its opener at Lincoln Financial Field.

Redshirt junior placekicker Mike Weaver, who has connected on 19 of 25 field goals, was a first-team all-ACC selection while senior linebacker Marquel Lee and redshirt freshman safety Jessie Bates III were second-team selections.

Lee is tied for ninth among FBS players with 19 tackles for losses. (Temple defensive end Haason Reddick leads FBS players with 211/2 tackles for losses.)

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson is impressed by what Temple has accomplished.

"Matt Rhule has done a great job of building that program," Clawson said Sunday night on a conference call. "They have the No. 3 defense, are very physical on offense."

Temple is No. 3 nationally in total defense, allowing 275.9 yards per game.

"We also love the challenge of getting to play a 10-win, championship team," Clawson said. "Our players are looking forward to it as well."