The Houston Cougars will be making their third trip in program history to Honolulu, as they will face the Fresno State Bulldogs in the 2017 Hawaii Bowl.

The Cougars (7-4 overall, 5-3 in the American Athletic Conference) and the Bulldogs (9-4 overall, 7-1 in the Mountain West) will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 24 at Aloha Stadium. ESPN will air the game.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 17-14 loss to the Boise State Broncos in the Mountain West Championship on Saturday.

For the Bulldogs, the bowl game will be a return trip to Hawaii this season. Their last trip to the Aloha State ended in a 31-21 conference win over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors back on Nov. 12.

The bowl marks Houston’s 11th bowl appearance in the last 13 seasons and its fifth straight bowl appearance, which is the second-longest active streak in the AAC and only the second time the Cougars have accomplished that feat in their program’s history.

The 2017 Cougar senior class will enter the bowl game just one win away from tying the Houston program record of 38 wins and would become the first senior class in the program’s history with three bowl wins.

The matchup will mark the first meeting between Houston and Fresno State. Houston’s last trip to the Hawaii Bowl ended with a 54-48 triple overtime loss to the Rainbow Warriors in December 2003.

Houston’s other previous trip to the Hawaii Islands also ended in a loss, as the Cougars dropped a 24-22 decision to Washington State in the 1988 Aloha Bowl.

The matchup will be Houston’s 26th bowl appearance. The Cougars are 11-13-1 in their previous 25 bowl appearances.

Michael Bauer: 409-683-5247;michael.bauer@galvnews.com

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