Jacksonville Sports Day

BOWL NOTES: Nittany Lions Remember First Meeting with Bulldogs

Penn State returns to a Florida bowl for the first time since the 2010 season when the Nittany Lions take on Southeastern Conference foe Georgia in the 71st annual TaxSlayer Bowl. The game will air on ESPN.

The Nittany Lions and the Bulldogs were selected for just their second all-time meeting and the 46th all-time bowl appearance for Penn State. 

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. Garrity’s son, also named Gregg, is a student-athlete on the 2015 team.

This will be Penn State’s fifth appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl, formerly the Gator Bowl, with the last time coming in 1976 when the Nittany Lions fell to Notre Dame, 20-9. Penn State was 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 1962 with a loss to Florida (17-7). Penn State also tied Florida State (17-17) in the 1967 Gator Bowl.

Penn State is tied for third nationally with Georgia and Oklahoma with 28 bowl victories and is No. 2 in bowl winning percentage with a 28-15-2 post-season record (64.4) among schools with at least 20 postseason appearances.

Head coach James 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’ mentor has guided all five of his teams as a head coach to a bowl appearance. Consensus first-team All-American defensive end Carl Nassib leads the nation in sacks and forced fumbles and earned numerous postseason awards, including Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and three national awards, including the Lombardi Award, Ted Hendricks Award and Lott IMPACT Award.

Penn State is 23-21-0 all-time against current SEC schools having played every SEC team except Arkansas, Mississippi and Mississippi State. The most recent meeting with an SEC team was versus Alabama in 2011 in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions are 12-6 against SEC teams in bowl games.

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