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February 21, 2024

Penn State-Georgia Taxslayer Bowl PARK, PA. – Penn State returns to a Florida bowl for the first time since the 2010 season when the Nittany Lions take on Southeastern Conference foe Georgia in the 71st annual TaxSlayer Bowl on Saturday, January 2 at noon. The game will air on ESPN. The Nittany Lions last played in a Florida bowl in the 2011 Outback Bowl.

The Nittany Lions and the Bulldogs were selected today for just their second all-time meeting and the 46th all-time bowl appearance for Penn State. The only other meeting between the teams came in the 1983 Sugar Bowl when the Nittany Lions claimed a 27-23 win over Georgia to claim their first National Championship. That game featured “The Catch,” a 48-yard diving touchdown reception by wide receiver Gregg Garrity from Todd Blackledge to give the Lions a 27-17 lead.

“I’m excited for our football program and our student-athletes who have worked so diligently for this result,” stated Sandy Barbour, Penn State Director of Athletics. “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!”

“We are excited to be heading to the TaxSlayer Bowl,” Penn State Head Coach James Franklin said. “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 January 2.”

This will be Penn State’s fifth appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl, formerly the Gator Bowl, with the last time coming in 1976 when the Nittany Lions fell to Notre Dame, 20-9. Penn State is 1-2-1 all-time in the Gator Bowl. The Lions made back-to-back Gator Bowl appearances in 1961 with a win over Georgia Tech (30-15) and in 1962 with a loss to Florida (17-7). Penn State also tied Florida State (17-17) in the 1967 Gator Bowl.

Penn State is tied for third nationally with 28 bowl victories and is No. 2 in bowl winning percentage with a 28-15-2 post-season record (64.4) among schools with at least 20 postseason appearances.
Anthony Zettel
As a benefit of membership, Nittany Lion Club members can log onto Account Manager at to request tickets to the TaxSlayer Bowl. All NLC ticket requests received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8 will be allocated based on NLC point totals. If more tickets are requested by NLC members than are available, not all tickets requested may be assigned.
Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to a 7-5 regular season record to become bowl eligible for the second consecutive season and 46th time overall. The Nittany Lions’ mentor has guided all five of his teams as a head coach to a bowl appearance. Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib (West Chester, Pa.) leads the nation in sacks and forced fumbles and earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year accolades to lead the list of 10 Penn Staters who earned All-Big Ten recognition. Nassib is also a finalist for six national awards.

Additionally, the defensive front of DT Austin Johnson (Galloway, N.J.) and DT Anthony Zettel (West Branch, Mich.) also claimed all-conference honors. Johnson was named to the All-Big Ten second team by the media and third team by the coaches, while Zettel claimed a spot on both all-conference third teams. Johnson leads all defensive linemen in FBS with 70 tackles on the season, while Zettel ranks eighth on the team with 43 tackles, third in sacks (3.0) and fourth in tackles for loss (10.0).

Freshman running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) was named to the All-Big Ten second team by the coaches and media after breaking the Penn State freshman season rushing record with 1,007 yards, surpassing the mark of 1,002 set by D.J. Dozier in 1983. Barkley was selected’s conference Freshman of the Year. Sophomore wide receiver Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.) was selected to the All-Big Ten second team by the media and the third team by the coaches. He ranks 30th in FBS and second in the Big Ten with 968 receiving yards. Godwin is also tied for fifth in the conference in receptions per game (5.3).

Chris Godwin
Chris Godwin
Junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.) has started all 37 games of his career under center. He ranks first in Penn State history in career 300-yard passing games (9), 200-yard passing games (21), passing yards (8,318), touchdowns (48), attempts (1,221), completions (685) and total offense (8,072). Hackenberg is the only quarterback in program history with 8,000 yards passing and three 2,000-yard passing seasons.
Georgia is 9-3 overall with a 5-3 mark in SEC play. The Bulldogs have SEC wins over Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky and Auburn. They finished the regular season with a 13-7 win over in-state rival Georgia Tech. Assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon will serve as Georgia’s interim head coach for the bowl game.

Penn State is 23-21-0 all-time against current SEC schools, having played every SEC team except Arkansas, Mississippi and Mississippi State. The most recent meeting with an SEC team was versus Alabama in 2011 in Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions vs. SEC teams overall: Alabama (5-10), Auburn (1-1), Florida (0-3), Georgia (1-0), Kentucky (3-2), LSU (2-0), Missouri (3-1), South Carolina (2-0), Tennessee (3-2), Texas A&M (3-1) and Vanderbilt (0-1).

The Nittany Lions are 12-6-0 vs. SEC teams in bowl games, with the most recent meeting resulting a 37-24 loss to Florida in the 2011 Outback Bowl. Penn State has faced Alabama (1-2), Auburn (1-1), Florida (0-3), Georgia (1-0), Kentucky (1-0), LSU (2-0), Missouri (1-0), Tennessee (3-0) and Texas A&M (2-0) in post-season contests.

Four Nittany Lions are from the Sunshine State: long snapper Nick Cox (Tampa), punter Robby Liebel (St. Petersburg), cornerback Amani Oruwariye (Tampa) and linebacker Gary Wooten Jr. (Miami).

Nittany Lion Club and Penn State Alumni Association members can exclusively purchase official TaxSlayer Bowl tour packages at starting Sunday night. Game tickets are included in the official tour packages from Penn State Athletics and Penn State Alumni Association travel partner PrimeSport.
Christian Hackenberg
Should any tickets from Penn State’s bowl allotment remain available after the Nittany Lion Club sale, the public can purchase bowl tickets and bowl tour packages starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at, 1-800-NITTANY (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) or visiting the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

An allotment of TaxSlayer Bowl tickets is being held for Penn State students to purchase. Student tickets will be available via a walk-up sale at the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office beginning Saturday, Dec. 12 at 8 a.m. As a benefit of membership, Student Nittany Lion Club members will have access to an exclusive pre-sale starting Friday, Dec. 11 through Student Account Manager. There will be a two (2) ticket limit per student ID and tickets can be purchased with cash and credit card.

Students interested in buying bowl tickets should check Student Central ( Tickets will be issued at the time of purchase.

Information on the TaxSlayer Bowl and all related events can be found on the bowl’s website:

Penn State season ticket renewals and Nittany Lion Club membership renewals also are underway for the 2016 campaign. The ticket invoice and Nittany Lion Club renewal deadline is Feb. 1, 2015. There will not be any increase in the price of Penn State football season tickets or Nittany Lion Club donation levels for next season. For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2016 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m.

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