UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. – 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 on Saturday, January 2 at noon. The game will air on ESPN. The Nittany Lions last played in a Florida bowl in the 2011 Outback Bowl.
The Nittany Lions and the Bulldogs were selected today 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.
“I’m excited for our football program and our student-athletes who have worked so diligently for this result,” stated Sandy Barbour, Penn State Director of Athletics. “This is a reward for them, and an opportunity to continue to represent our University, which they do so well on a daily basis. I’m also pleased that our Penn State community will get to gather in Florida for the first time in five years to celebrate the Penn State family! Sincere thanks to Rick Catlett and the Jacksonville volunteers for their work to make this bowl experience possible. We know that Penn Staters will descend on Jacksonville in abundant numbers!”
“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 in Florida on January 2.”
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 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.
Penn State is tied for third nationally 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.