Louisiana-Monroe will meet Ohio in the Independence Bowl

Louisiana-Monroe, playing in its first bowl game, will meet Ohio in the Independence Bowl.

The Independence Bowl selected Ohio (8-4, 4-4 Mid-American Conference) after being told Louisiana Tech was not yet ready to accept an invitation the Dec. 28 contest that could have been a matchup of two north Louisiana schools.

The Warhawks (8-4, 6-2 Sun Belt Conference) announced Saturday that they had accepted an invitation to play in Shreveport, which is a drive of less than two hours from Monroe.

The Warhawks played in two overtime games against Southeastern Conference opponents this season, defeating Arkansas and losing to Auburn. ULM now heads into the postseason having won seven of its last nine games.

"To have a historic season culminate in a bowl such as the Independence Bowl and the great city of Shreveport is extra special," said Louisiana-Monroe coach Todd Berry. "This team continues to work very hard. The ULM faithful can be very proud of this team both on and off the field and can know that we will give a maximum effort toward bringing the Independence Bowl trophy home with us."

The Bobcats, whose selection was announced Sunday night, opened the 2012 season 7-0, including a victory at Penn State. Ohio was ranked as high as No. 25 in the AP poll, but lost four of its last five games.

Ohio will be playing in its fourth straight bowl and second in Louisiana since 2010, when the Bobcats fell to Troy in the New Orleans Bowl.

Ohio and ULM will be meeting for the first time. It will be the first appearance for Ohio in the Independence Bowl, but the second for coach Frank Solich, coached Nebraska in a 27-23 loss against Ole Miss in 2002.

Ohio athletic director Jim Schaus noted that he played for Oregon when the Ducks beat Tulsa team in the Independence Bowl in 1989.

"I am just so impressed with the history of the Bowl and how first-class it is," Schaus said. "We are looking forward to the matchup, and we couldn't be happier."

Led by quarterback Kolton Browning, the ULM has averaged 442.7 yards and 35.5 points per game. Browning has 2,830 yards passing and 27 touchdowns.

Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton has completed 62 percent of his passes this season for 2,513 yards and 16 TDs. He has had help from running back Beau Blankenship, who averaged 125 yards rushing and compiled a school-record 1,500 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns this season.