JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — David Boree, chairman of the TaxSlayer Bowl, announced today that the University of Kentucky will play Georgia Tech in the Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl.
“We are very excited to welcome Kentucky and Georgia Tech to Jacksonville for the 72nd Annual TaxSlayer Bowl. It will be a great match-up and we are pleased to host these two top-notch teams and their players, coaches and fans in our city for a great day of football.”
This game marks the 20th all-time meeting between Kentucky and Georgia Tech but the last time they met was in 1960. Georgia Tech leads the series, 11-7-1.
“The excitement for the TaxSlayer Bowl has been building since the beginning of the season. We are excited about the selections and look forward to a great matchup that will jump start the New Year and tax season,” said TaxSlayer CEO Brian Rhodes.
The Kentucky Wildcats finished this season with a 7-5 record and will serve as the Southeastern Conference representative. This will be Kentucky’s first appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Mark Stoops was named head coach of the Wildcats in November of 2012. He previously served as defensive coordinator at Florida State University from 2010 to 2012 and the University of Arizona from 2004 to 2009.
“We’re extremely excited and proud for our team, our university and our fans, to be invited to the TaxSlayer Bowl,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said. “It’s a bowl with a rich tradition and we’re honored to become part of it. We’re also excited about the opportunity to play Georgia Tech, an outstanding team that will be a great challenge.”
“Accepting a bid to the TaxSlayer Bowl is a well-deserved reward for a team and coaching staff that showed remarkable resilience this season,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “We are building a program and playing in a bowl this prominent is an important step in that process. We look forward to our time in a great city and being joined there by a large contingent of the Big Blue Nation.”
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the Atlantic Coast Conference representative, finished their regular season with an overall record of 8-4. This match-up will mark the team’s 8th appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl, with a current record of 3-4-0. Paul Johnson is in his ninth season as head coach of the Yellow Jackets. Named Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year three times, he has led Georgia Tech to eight bowl games in nine seasons and three ACC Championship Game berths.
“We are very excited to represent the ACC in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Playing in such a terrific bowl with a long, storied history is a great reward for our student-athletes after winning five of the last six games to close the regular season. We have a lot of respect for Coach Stoops and Kentucky and look forward to a great trip to Jacksonville and a great game,” said Head Coach Paul Johnson.
“It is a great honor to be selected to participate in the TaxSlayer Bowl. In addition to its close proximity to Atlanta, north and central Florida is home to a large number of Georgia Tech alumni. We’re excited for the opportunity to bring our football team to Jacksonville for one of college football’s most outstanding bowl games,” said Todd Stansbury, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics.
The UK Ticket Office is now accepting ticket requests for the TaxSlayer Bowl from both season-ticket holders and the general public. Fans should visit UKFootballTix.com for full information and requests can be submitted through your MyUK Account. Ticket requests will be filled based on availability and are not guaranteed.
Fans are highly encouraged to request tickets through UK Athletics, as institutional ticket purchases can impact future bowl opportunities. The priority deadline to request bowl tickets is Monday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. Seating will be allocated by K Fund priority point ranking with priority given to 2016 football season ticket holders.
Kentucky will enter the TaxSlayer Bowl with a record of 7-5, including 7-3 over the last 10 games following an 0-2 start to the season. The Wildcats got their signature win in the regular-season finale, retaking the Governor’s Cup with a 41-38 upset at No. 11 Louisville to follow up a 4-4 finish in conference play, tied for second in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division.
The Wildcats’ emergence this season has come in large part due to a ground game that ranked 17th nationally entering this weekend with an average of 241.3 yards per game. UK boasts a pair of 1,000 yard rushers – Stanley “Boom” Williams and Benny Snell, Jr. – for the first time in school history.
The 72nd Annual TaxSlayer Bowl will be played on Dec. 31, 2016 at 11 a.m. at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla, and will be nationally televised on ESPN. Tickets and Bowl information are available online at www.taxslayerbowl.com.