Jacksonville Sports Day

COLLEGE BOWL NEWS: Georgia, Penn State to meet in TaxSlayer Bowl

By MIKE BONTS

COLLEGE BOWL NEWS
Heather Duncan, chairwoman of the TaxSlayer Bowl, announced Sunday that Penn State will play Georgia in the 2016 edition on Jan. 2.

The Nittany Lions and the Bulldogs were selected for just their second all-time meeting. The only other meeting between the teams came in the 1983 Sugar Bowl when the Nittany Lions claimed a 27-23 win over Georgia to claim their first National Championship.

That game featured “The Catch,” a 48-yard diving touchdown reception by wide receiver Gregg Garrity from Todd Blackledge to give the Lions a 27-17 lead.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our team and especially our seniors in a great facility and warm weather city,” said Georgia interim head coach Bryan McClendon. “It will be a chance to record another ten-win season and we’re looking forward to playing Penn State which is one of the iconic brands in college football. They are very rich in tradition and have had a successful season.”

McClendon took over for Mark Richt who left the program at the end of the season. He is now head coach at Miami.

Georgia is 9-3 overall with a 5-3 mark in SEC play. The Bulldogs have SEC wins over Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky and Auburn. They finished the regular season with a 13-7 win over in-state rival Georgia Tech.

“We are excited to be heading to the TaxSlayer Bowl,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said. “We are looking forward to this opportunity to keep our family together for another month and spend more time with this fantastic group of seniors. Jacksonville is a great destination for our fans and we would love to see Nittany Nation in full force.”

Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to a 7-5 regular season record to become bowl eligible for the second consecutive season and 46th time overall. The Nittany Lions’ coach has guided all five of his teams as a head coach to a bowl appearance.

 “Both Penn State and Georgia have storied football programs with fantastic fan bases,” Duncan noted.  “We are thrilled to host these two top-notch teams and their players, coaches and fans in Jacksonville for a great day of football.”

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT – The Bulldogs have made four previous trips to the Gator Bowl. Georgia and Maryland tied, 20-20, Jan. 1, 1948, the `Dogs defeated North Carolina, 7-3, Dec. 31, 1971, Georgia defeated Michigan State, 34-27, Jan. 1, 1989, and the Bulldogs suffered a 24-19 loss to Nebraska in the 2014 TaxSlayer Bowl game. This will be Penn State’s fifth appearance in the former the Gator Bowl, with the last time coming in 1976 when the Nittany Lions fell to Notre Dame, 20-9. Penn State is 1-2-1 all-time in the Gator Bowl. The Lions made back-to-back Gator Bowl appearances in 1961 with a win over Georgia Tech (30-15) and in 1962 with a loss to Florida (17-7). Penn State also tied Florida State (17-17) in the 1967 Gator Bowl.

The game will air on ESPN. The 71st Annual TaxSlayer Bowl will be played on Jan. 2, 2016 at noon at EverBank Field. Tickets and Bowl information are available online at www.taxslayerbowl.com.

STATE SCHOOLS BOWL SCHEDULE – Monday, Dec. 21, Miami Beach Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): South Florida vs. Western Kentucky; Saturday, Dec. 26, Hyndai Sun Bowl (2 p.m. ET, CBS): Miami vs. Washington State; Thursday, Dec. 31, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (noon ET, ESPN): No. 18 Houston vs. No. 9 Florida State; Friday, Jan. 1, Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2): No. 19 Florida vs. No. 14 Michigan.

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