Heather Duncan, chairwoman of the TaxSlayer Bowl, announced today that Pennsylvania State University will play the University of Georgia in the Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl.
“Both Penn State and Georgia have storied football programs with fantastic fan bases,” said Duncan. “We are thrilled to host these two top-notch teams and their players, coaches and fans in Jacksonville for a great day of football.”
The Nittany Lions and the Bulldogs have only squared off once, in 1983’s Sugar Bowl, as the teams battled for the National Championship. Penn State defeated Georgia by a score of 27-23.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have Penn State and Georgia play in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl,” said TaxSlayer President Jimmy Rhodes. “We know the competitive matchup will be a highlight for college football fans traveling to Jacksonville and watching from home. There’s no better way to kickoff tax season than with a great American tradition.”
The Penn State Nittany Lions finished this season with a 7-5 record and will serve as the Big Ten Conference representative. The team will be making its fifth appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Penn State has a 1-2-1 overall record in the bowl game. James Franklin is now in his second season as head coach of Penn State. Franklin came to Pennsylvania after three seasons at Vanderbilt, where he led the Commodores to a bowl game all three seasons, which was the first time the team participated in consecutive bowl games.
“We are excited to be heading to the TaxSlayer Bowl,” said Franklin. “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 Jan. 2.”
“I’m excited for our football program and our student-athletes who have worked so diligently for this result,” stated Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. “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!”
The Georgia Bulldogs, the Southeastern Conference representative, finished their regular season with an overall record of 9-3. This match-up will mark the team’s fourth appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl, with a current record of 2-0-1. Georgia’s assistant head coach and receivers coach, Bryan McClendon, will serve as interim head coach for the TaxSlayer Bowl. Georgia’s newly named head coach, Kirby Smart, will remain with the University of Alabama as defensive coordinator through the College Football Playoff.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our team and especially our seniors to play on Jan. 2 in a great facility and warm weather city,” said McClendon. “It will be a chance to record another ten-win season and we’re looking forward to playing Penn State which is one of the iconic brands in college football. They are very rich in tradition and have had a very successful season. I’m sure they will be at their very best on Jan. 2.”
“We are delighted with the selection of our team to represent the Southeastern Conference in the TaxSlayer Bowl,” said UGA J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “Jacksonville is blessed with good weather, outstanding attractions, a first class stadium and we look forward to competing against an outstanding Penn State team. I’m sure our coaches, players, and fans are excited and anxious to get back to Jacksonville and enjoy all the city has to offer.”
The 71st Annual TaxSlayer Bowl will be played on Jan. 2, 2016 at 12 p.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.