The Kentucky Wildcats football team has officially punched their ticket to the 79th TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, where they’ll face off against the #22-ranked Clemson Tigers on Friday, December 29th in Jacksonville, Florida. The highly anticipated matchup will kick off at noon ET at TIAA Bank Field (formerly EverBank Stadium) and be televised nationally on ESPN.
Excitement Builds for Return to Jacksonville:
“This is a tremendous honor for our program and our fans,” said Head Coach Mark Stoops. “The Big Blue Nation always shows out in bowl season, and we’re thrilled to be heading back to Jacksonville. We have great memories from our last Gator Bowl win in 2021, and we can’t wait to experience that atmosphere again. Our team is already fired up for this opportunity to compete against a top-tier opponent like Clemson.”
This marks Kentucky’s third appearance in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, all under Coach Stoops’ leadership. The Wildcats emerged victorious in their most recent visit, defeating NC State 23-21 in 2021. Their inaugural trip resulted in a 33-18 loss to Georgia Tech in 2016.
UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart echoed Coach Stoops’ excitement:
“We’re incredibly proud to represent the SEC in this prestigious bowl game,” Barnhart said. “Jacksonville has become a second home for Kentucky football fans during bowl season, and we appreciate the warm welcome from the Gator Bowl staff. This also extends our remarkable streak of eight consecutive bowl appearances, a testament to the dedication and talent of our players and coaches.”
Season ticket holders and K Fund donors who expressed interest during the priority request period (Nov. 17-30) will receive their tickets via email by Sunday evening (Dec. 3). These tickets will be allocated in the best available locations based on K Fund priority ranking.
Any remaining tickets will go on sale to the public starting Monday, December 4th at 9 AM ET. Fans can purchase online at UKFootballTix.com or by phone at (800) 928-2287, option 4. Kentucky will be seated on the west side of the stadium.
Student ticket information will be available online at UKFootballTix.com by Sunday evening. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets directly through UK Athletics to guarantee their seats amongst other Wildcats fans and to help the program fulfill its bowl ticket obligations.
Heading into the Bowl with Momentum:
The Wildcats enter the game with a 7-5 record, marking the seventh time in eight years they’ve reached at least seven wins (excluding the COVID-shortened 2020 season). They’re riding high after securing their fifth straight Governor’s Cup victory with a 38-31 win over then-top-10-ranked Louisville. This also marks their sixth consecutive season finishing the regular season with a win, another program first.
Their opponent, Clemson, comes in with an 8-4 overall record and a 4-4 mark in the ACC. The Tigers earned the #22 spot in the final College Football Playoff rankings.
Kentucky holds an 8-5 edge in the all-time series against Clemson, with three of those matchups taking place in bowl games. While Clemson emerged victorious in the 1993 Peach Bowl (14-13), the Wildcats answered back with a win in the 2006 Music City Bowl (28-20). However, the Tigers reclaimed the upper hand in their most recent bowl meeting, a 21-13 win in the 2009 Music City Bowl.
This TaxSlayer Gator Bowl appearance extends Kentucky’s school-record streak of eight consecutive bowl appearances, all achieved under Coach Stoops’ leadership. This impressive feat places them among an elite group of only eight programs nationwide and just three SEC teams (alongside Alabama and Georgia) to boast such consistency in reaching the postseason.
With anticipation building and history on the line, the Wildcats are eager to close out their season with another thrilling chapter in their burgeoning rivalry with Clemson. The TaxSlayer Gator Bowl promises an unforgettable clash between two talented teams, and Kentucky fans are ready to roar their support in Jacksonville once again.