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Bowl Game Tasting like Citrus and Cheese for Tennessee

For the third straight season under the direction of head coach Josh Heupel, Tennessee football is bowl-bound as the No. 21 Volunteers will take on No. 17 Iowa in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day in Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.

The 78th edition of the Citrus Bowl kicks off at Noon CT on The Rooster 101.5.  

Tennessee (8-4, 4-4 SEC) will make its sixth Citrus Bowl appearance and first since Jan. 1, 2002, when it capped an 11-2 campaign with a 45-17 victory over Michigan and finished No. 4 in the final polls. The six appearances tie Georgia, Michigan, Florida, Penn State, Auburn, and LSU for most all time.

Iowa (10-3) won the Big Ten East before falling to final No. 1 Michigan, 26-0, on Saturday night in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.

It’s the fourth time that the two programs will meet. The Vols own a 2-1 record against the Hawkeyes, including a 45-28 victory in the 2015 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

Tennessee finished the regular season ranked in the top 25 nationally in eight different team categories: total offense (18th – 453.5), rushing offense (12th – 202.6), rushing defense (22nd – 113.8), net punting (19th – 41.4), punt return average (13th – 14.67), punt return defense (6th – 0.71), total sacks (10th – 36) and total tackles for loss (6th – 93).

Three of the Vols’ four losses came against teams who finished in the top 11 and reached either the College Football Playoff or New Year’s Six. Heupel’s squad heads into bowl season ranked No. 21 in the final College Football Playoff rankings, No. 23 in the AFCA Coaches poll, and No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25. The Vols have appeared in 12 consecutive CFP rankings dating back to last season.

Heupel joins Phillip Fulmer and Bill Battle as the only coaches to lead UT to bowl berths in each of his first three seasons.

Tennessee Bowl Facts
NCAA Appearance: 54th*
Record: 29-25*

Tennessee Citrus Bowl History (4-1)
Dec. 17, 1983 – Tennessee 30, Maryland 23
Jan. 1, 1994 – Penn State 31, Tennessee 13
Jan. 1, 1996 – Tennessee 20, Ohio State 14
Jan. 1, 1997 – Tennessee 48, Northwestern 28
Jan. 1, 2002 – Tennessee 45, Michigan 17

Tennessee-Iowa History
Dec. 31, 1982 – Iowa 28, Tennessee 22 (Peach Bowl – Atlanta, Georgia)
Aug. 30, 1987 – Tennessee 23, Iowa 22 (Kickoff Classic – East Rutherford, New Jersey)
Jan. 2, 2015 – Tennessee 45, Iowa 28 (Gator Bowl – Jacksonville, Florida)

College Football Playoff Rankings (Final)
1. Michigan (13-0)
2. Washington (13-0)
3. Texas (12-1)
4. Alabama (12-1)
5. Florida State (13-0)
6. Georgia (12-1)
7. Ohio State (11-1)
8. Oregon (11-2)
9. Missouri (10-2)
10. Penn State (10-2)
11. Ole Miss (10-2)
12. Oklahoma (10-2)
13. LSU (9-3)
14. Arizona (9-3)
15. Louisville (10-3)
16. Notre Dame (9-3)
17. Iowa (10-3)
18. NC State (9-3)
19. Oregon State (8-4)
20. Oklahoma State (9-4)
21. Tennessee (8-4)
22. Clemson (8-4)
23. Liberty (13-0)
24. SMU (11-2)
25. Kansas State (8-4)

Tickets to the general public are on sale now through the Citrus Bowl via CheezItCitrusBowl.com/tickets. Tennessee will serve as the home team and occupy the bench on the east side of the stadium.

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. News and Sports Director for Rooster 101.5 FM, 93.9 The Duck and Whiskey Country 105.1, and 95.9. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders (31 years) on The Rooster 101.5 and can be heard M-F broadcasting our local news. Lucky has done play-by-play for 4,002 (and counting) sports events on Radio & TV. He also served four years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for six years at Grundy County High School.

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