Scout.com/Jeff Drummond

Kentucky Wildcats to face Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in TaxSlayer Bowl

Kentucky is headed to the Sunshine State for its first bowl game appearance in six years.

The Wildcats officially accepted a bid to the TaxSlayer Bowl -- formerly known as the Gator Bowl -- to face Georgia Tech on New Year's Eve in Jacksonville, Fla.

Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. ET at EverBank Field, the home of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. The game will be broadcast by ESPN.

“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 in a statement released by the school. “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.”

Added UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart: “Accepting a bid to the TaxSlayer Bowl is a well-deserved reward for a team and coaching staff that showed remarkable resilience this season. 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.” 

Kentucky (7-5, 4-4 SEC) will be making its first bowl appearance under head coach Mark Stoops and 16th in program history. The Cats improved their bowl resume with a 41-38 upset of No. 11 Louisville to close out the regular season and reclaim the Governor's Cup.

It will mark UK's most prestigious bowl invitation since playing Penn State in the Outback Bowl following the 1998 season.

Georgia Tech (8-4, 4-4 ACC) closed the regular season on a three-game winning streak, including a 28-27 win over Georgia on rivalry weekend. The Yellow Jackets also beat another common UK opponent, Vanderbilt, 38-7 on Sept. 17.

An original member of the SEC, Georgia Tech has not faced Kentucky since 1960.

The matchup will feature two of the best ground attacks in college football. The Yellow Jackets currently rank 10th in the nation at 257.4 rushing yards per game, a trademark of ninth-year head coach Paul Johnson, while the Cats rank 16th at 241.3.


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