Four years of dedication and determination have paid off for the University of Idaho football team with its selection to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The Vandals will take on Colorado State of the Mountain West Conference on Dec. 22 at Boise.

Tickets are available online now and over the phone or in person at the Idaho ticket office Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. PT.

The tenets coach Paul Petrino preaches and by which his players conduct themselves are the stepping stones to the success of the 2016 team, which finished 8-4 overall and 6-2, in the Sun Belt Conference – good enough for a tie for third in the league and the coveted bowl bid.

“I’m very proud of our assistant coaches,” said Petrino, who guided the Vandals to their first bowl game since 2009 and their best regular-season record since 2009 when they were 7-5. “They’ve done an outstanding job.

“I’m very proud of our leadership from our players. Our seniors, what a great way for them to finish their careers – especially the guys who have been here four years with me. We went through some tough times.”

In December 2012 Petrino took over a program that was 3-21 over the previous two seasons. His first two seasons the Vandals were 2-22. In 2015, the Vandals started to show the progress he envisioned with a 4-8 finish, which included three losses by one touchdown or less. They started 2016 1-2 after playing at two Top-25 teams which includes fourth-ranked Washington. They settled in with a road victory at UNLV and then hit conference play and wound up winning six of their last seven games and seven of their final nine.

“It was really a great lesson in life for them – as long as you stick to your core values and keep working hard and keep grinding and doing everything to your very best ability, eventually you end up being successful,” Petrino said. “Hopefully that is something they can carry over to life. If they just keep grinding and keep working hard and doing things right and choosing character, they’ll end up being successful.”

Idaho has played in – and won, the Boise-based bowl twice (the 1998 Humanitarian Bowl and the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl).

“We are very excited about this year’s matchup between the University of Idaho and Colorado State University,” said Kevin McDonald, Executive Director, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. “It will be great to host Idaho for the third time with its great local and regional fan base. They always bring excitement to the city of Boise. We are also thrilled to welcome Colorado State for the first time and look forward to its electric offense.”

The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is one of 13 owned and operated postseason bowl games by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.