Clemson, SC—Clemson will meet Kentucky in the 12th Annual Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl on Sunday, December 27 in Nashville, TN. The game will be played at LP Field, the home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans at 8:30 PM eastern time.
Clemson and Kentucky met in the same bowl game in 2006 and the Wildcats came away with a 28-20 victory. This will be the third meeting between Clemson and Kentucky in a bowl game. The Tigers won the first contest by a 14-13 score at the 1993 Peach Bowl.
Overall, Kentucky has an 8-4 lead in the series that dates to 1925 when Kentucky won in Lexington, 19-6. Clemson’s biggest win in the series might have been in 1981 when the Tigers were victorious 21-3 in Lexington. It was Clemson’s fourth straight win on the way to the national championship that year.
The Kentucky Wildcats, 7-5 overall and 3-5 in the SEC East, are making their fourth Bowl appearance in Nashville. Coach Rich Brooks team is led this year on offense by all-purpose performers Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke. Cobb, who plays wide receiver and quarterback, finished the regular season second in the SEC in touchdowns; third in all-purpose yards per game; and third in punt return average. Locke leads the team in rushing and is second in the SEC in all-purpose yardage. It has been a year of milestone victories for the Wildcats as they won at Auburn for the first time since 1961 and at Georgia for the first time since 1977.
Clemson won the Atlantic Division Championship this year with a 6-2 conference mark, including wins over Miami (FL) and Florida State for the first time in the same season. The Tigers are 8-5 overall after suffering a 39-34 ACC Championship game loss to Georgia Tech on December 5. It was Clemson’s third loss this year by five points or less to a team ranked in the current top 10 of the AP poll.
The Tigers are led by C.J. Spiller, the ACC Player of the Year. The senior had 20 rushes for 233 yards and four touchdowns in the ACC Championship game and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. It is believed to be the first time in any conference championship game that someone on the losing team was named the MVP.
Spiller has set or tied 31 Clemson records and is the only player in the FBS to score at least one touchdown in every game this year. He enters the bowl season with 7,416 all-purpose yards in his career, third best in NCAA history. He needs 349 yards to become the all-time NCAA leader. He has 50 touchdowns in his career, second only to the 56 accumulated by Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
Quarterback Kyle Parker has guided the Tigers to eight wins this year as the starter, tied for the most among freshman quarterbacks nationally. He has set Clemson freshman records for touchdown passes, yards and completions. His favorite target is second-team All-ACC wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who has 53 catches, while first-team All-ACC tight end Michael Palmer has 41 catches, a Clemson record for a tight end.
Clemson is led on defense by safety DeAndre McDaniel, who is tied for second in the nation in interceptions with eight. That is tied for the Clemson single season record. Freshman Rashard Hall has six picks to rank in the top 15 in the nation as well. Defensive End Ricky Sapp was a second team All-ACC player this year and ranks fourth in the ACC in tackles for loss with 14.
Clemson’s special teams are led by Spiller, who ranks fourth in the nation in all-purpose running and four in kickoff return average. He established the NCAA record for career kickoff returns for touchdowns with seven, including four this year, tied for most in the nation. He has as many kickoff returns for touchdowns as the other 11 ACC teams combined. Kicker Richard Jackson is the only kicker in the nation to make six field goals in one game this year (vs. Boston College).
“We were treated very well at the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl in 2006 and are looking forward to returning to Nashville, a great city,” said Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips. “ Kentucky has had a terrific season and has been an outstanding program under Coach Rich Brooks. I am sure it will be a great game.
“Winning our first Atlantic Division Championship and having a chance to play for the ACC title, was a significant accomplishment for Coach (Dabo) Swinney and his staff in his first year. I was proud of the way our team competed all year, and especially last night when we overcame a two touchdown deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
“Few first year coaches at the FBS level have won eight games and played for their conference championship this year. Dabo is a young, bright coach and we will continue to progress under his leadership as the years go on. I have seen first hand that his student-athletes love playing for him. Our future is bright under Coach Swinney.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn., (Dec. 6, 2009) – Representatives of the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl announced today the University of Kentucky will represent the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in the 12th annual Bowl and face off against the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) Clemson University. Kick off will be Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. CST at LP Field in Nashville. The game will be televised live on ESPN.
“The Bowl is thrilled to once again host the student-athletes, administrators and fans from the University of Kentucky and Clemson University,” said Christine Karbowiak, Bowl chair. “Music City has proved to be a great destination for both teams, and we welcome both teams to our first primetime game in Nashville.”
The Kentucky Wildcats are making their fourth Bowl appearance in Nashville, led this year on offense by all-purpose performers Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke. Cobb, who plays wide receiver and quarterback, finished the regular second for the SEC in touchdowns; third in all-purpose yards per game; and third in punt return average. Locke leads the team in rushing and is second in the SEC in all-purpose yardage. It has been a year of milestone victories for the Wildcats as they won at Auburn for the first time since 1961 and at Georgia for the first time since 1977.
“We’re honored to be invited to the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl,” said Mitch Barnhart, Kentucky Director of Athletics. “I congratulate Coach Rich Brooks and our senior class for an historic accomplishment in earning a fourth-consecutive bowl game. The city and Bowl staff treats the teams and fans in first-class fashion and we’re privileged to be their guests. Nashville is a great place to visit as a nationally renowned entertainment center. Our experiences in previous trips bring back wonderful memories.”
The Clemson Tigers are making a return to Nashville after playing Kentucky in the 2006 Bowl. Senior running back C.J. Spiller was named the ACC Player of the Year and the ACC Offensive Player of the Year for the 2009 season. Spiller, along with tight end Michael Palmer and safety DeAndre McDaniel, were given first-team All-ACC honors. C.J. Spiller also holds the NCAA record for kick off returns for touchdowns in a career, and is the only player in the NCAA to score a touchdown every game during the 2009 campaign. Clemson finished third in the ACC in total defense, second in scoring offense, second in passing defense and third in rushing offense.
"We are excited to be selected for the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl,” said Terry Don Phillips, Clemson University director of athletics. “This will be our second appearance in this bowl and it was an outstanding experience for our program the first time around. Nashville is a great city and has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment for our fans. It is also a game that will take place in a state-of-the-art NFL facility against Kentucky.”
The 2009 game will mark the fourth Bowl match-up between the SEC and ACC in Nashville. SEC teams have won the first three conference matchups under the current Bowl contract with the ACC.
“We’re excited to welcome back the teams and fans of Kentucky and Clemson, and we look forward to having them play in the Bowl’s first ever primetime game,” said Scott Ramsey, Bowl president and CEO. “We anticipate this holiday weekend will be a busy time for local hotels, businesses and entertainment attractions, as well as a great showcase for our city on ESPN.”
Since its inception in 1998, the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl has produced $153 million in direct economic impact to Nashville, and has had millions of viewers through its live ESPN telecast.
Bowl tickets are available for purchase through Ticketmaster online at Ticketmaster.com/MusicCityBowl or at any Ticketmaster location. For more information, call the Bowl office at 615.743.3130, visit the Bowl online at MusicCityBowl.com or follow the Bowl on Facebook and Twitter.
SPECIAL NOTE TO FANS:
For fans attending the game, please visit MusicCityBowl.com to purchase game day parking. Several parking options are available, but for those wishing to park in a stadium parking lot at LP Field, passes must be pre-purchased. No parking passes at LP Field will be available to purchase on game day.
About the Bowl:
The Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl (501 (c)3 non-profit organization) is an annual post-season collegiate bowl featuring the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences. Televised nationally to millions of viewers and listeners on ESPN and Nevada Sports Radio Network, the Bowl is Nashville’s Holiday Tradition. For more information, call the Bowl office at 615.743.3130 or visit the Bowl online at MusicCityBowl.com.