Jacksonville Sports Day

CITRUS SPORTS: Penn State and Kentucky Selected to Play in VRBO Citrus Bowl

ORLANDO – The No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten) and the 14th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (9-3, 5-3 SEC) will meet in the VRBO Citrus Bowl. Florida Citrus Sports chairman Pete Schaefer and CEO Steve Hogan announced the matchup on behalf of the organization’s Team Selection Committee.

The 73rd edition of the game will take place at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1 at Camping World Stadium and will be televised nationally by ABC.

This year’s VRBO Citrus Bowl will be the sixth all-time meeting between the Nittany Lions and Wildcats and the first since Penn State’s 26-14 win in the 1999 Outback Bowl. Penn State leads the all-time series between the teams 3-2. The Nittany Lions are 2-3 in five previous Citrus Bowl appearances, with the most recent coming in 2010 against LSU. Kentucky will be making its Orlando bowl debut.

The Nittany Lions have thrived this season on the strength of one of the nation’s top defenses. Penn State has held opponents to 20 points per game on the year and ranks second nationally in sacks and fourth nationally in tackles for loss.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Nittany Lions are paced by running back Miles Sanders, who ranks 15th nationally and second in the Big Ten with 1,223 rushing yards this season. Penn State has also seen steady production from quarterback Trace McSorley, who has thrown for 2,284 yards and rushed for 723 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns.

Kentucky’s 9-3 record, meanwhile, is the team’s best since 1977. The Wildcats rank eighth nationally in scoring defense at just 16.3 points allowed per game and allow just 181.3 passing yards per game, good for 17th nationally. Linebacker Josh Allen also leads the SEC with 14 sacks on the season.

Offensively, the Wildcats are led by running back Benny Snell, Jr., who ranks 12th nationally with 1,305 rushing yards this year. Sophomore receiver Lynn Bowden, Jr. led the team with 661 receiving yards on 61 receptions – the most catches for a Wildcat since Randall Cobb (84) in 2010.

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