LSU to meet Texas in Cotton Bowl

Officials with the SBC Cotton Bowl confirmed Sunday what LSU fans have suspected over the past couple of weeks – that they will welcome in 2003 in the city of Dallas.<br><br>The Tigers have received an official invitation to play the University of Texas in the 67th Annual Cotton Bowl Classic scheduled for Jan. 1 at 10 a.m.

LSU (8-4) will face the ninth-ranked Longhorns (10-2) for the first time since the two schools met in the 1963 Cotton Bowl. The then seventh-ranked Tigers upset No. 4 Texas, 13-0.


"I think I speak for everyone in that it is a real privilege and an honor to play Mack (Brown) and the University of Texas," said LSU head coach Nick Saban. "They have a great program and had a great season this year. We are really excited about a great bowl game and a great football game that we have the opportunity to play in."


It's the first trip to the Cotton Bowl for LSU since 1966 when the Tigers spoiled the national title hopes of Arkansas with a 14-7 win over the second-ranked Razorbacks. That game marked the last time the Tigers made back-to-back appearances in a New Year's Day bowl game, following the Tigers' 1965 berth in the Sugar Bowl where they beat Syracuse, 13-10.


"We're excited," said LSU athletics director Skip Bertman. "The history is there. It's been a long time. We were very, very, very pleased."


LSU's only other trip to the Cotton Bowl was in 1947 when they played to a scoreless tie with Arkansas.


Texas, which will make its 22nd appearance in the Cotton Bowl, holds an 8-7-1 edge over LSU in their all-time series. The last regular season meeting between the Tigers and Longhorns came in 1953 when LSU upset No. 11 Texas, 20-7.


"We're very excited about playing LSU," said Brown, who was the quarterbacks coach for the Tigers in 1982.


Since taking over the Longhorns in 1998, Brown had led them to three Cotton Bowl berths and two appearances in the Holiday Bowl. Texas is 2-2 under Brown in postseason games.


Saban has led LSU to two straight Jan. 1 contests and three straight bowl bids, and the Tigers are once again expected to be underdogs for the third-straight postseason game.


The Tigers finished 10-3 last season with a 47-34 win over Illinois the 2002 Nokia Sugar Bowl to go with their Southeastern Conference title. In Saban's first year at LSU, the Tigers upset Georgia Tech, 28-14, in the 2000 Peach Bowl for an 8-4 record.


Saban is the fifth LSU head coach to put the Tigers in bowl games three straight years, joining Bernie Moore, Charles McClendon, Bill Arnsparger and Gerry DiNardo. McClendon is the only LSU coach to achieve that string twice, and Moore is the only man to put the Tigers in three consecutive New Year's Day bowls. LSU played in the Sugar Bowl from 1935-37 and lost all three games, the first to TCU and the last two to Santa Clara.


Tickets for the 2003 SBC Cotton Bowl are available for $75 each through the LSU Ticket Office. Both schools have been allotted 19,700 tickets, and Bertman says LSU has already pre-sold approximately 12,000 to current season ticket holders through postseason applications. UPS will begin delivering tickets from LSU starting on Dec. 16.


Bertman also announced that parking passes for the Texas State Fair Grounds are also available for $15 each and can be purchased through LSU.

The Cotton Bowl reports its share of tickets for the general public is sold out.

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