KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee football team has accepted an invitation to play the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.
Tickets for the Music City Bowl will be available for purchase in the coming days via AllVols.com.
“Our entire program is excited about representing the University of Tennessee at the Music City Bowl,” said head coach Butch Jones. “This will be a great opportunity for our players to play in a NFL stadium against a very challenging opponent in Nebraska. We have a special group of seniors that have given their all for this program and I know they are excited about a final opportunity to play together.”
The Vols, who are ranked No. 21 in the latest College Football Playoff Rankings, in the are making their 52nd all-time bowl appearance, which ties for the fourth all-time in college football history. Butch Jones has led the Vols to three-straight bowl games. UT took a 45-28 win over Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2, 2015. The Vols capped their 2015 campaign with a 45-6 victory over Northwestern in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2016. UT is playing in its third-straight bowl game for the first time since UT played in three bowls from 2002 to 2004. Tennessee is looking to win bowl games in three-consecutive seasons for the first time since winning postseason bowls following the 1994, 1995 and 1996 seasons.
“We are looking forward to playing in this bowl game against a ranked opponent,” said University of Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Dave Hart. “Scott Ramsey and the Nashville Sports Council do a great job hosting the Music City Bowl each year and we are grateful for the invitation. We appreciate Dave Crockett and Franklin American Mortgage and the job they do as a title sponsor.”
The Vols are 8-4, marking their third-straight winning season. Tennessee has averaged 36.2 points for the season and the Vols have seen their scoring output expand to 50.2 points per game over the last four games. Senior quarterback Joshua Dobbs leads the SEC in touchdown passes (26), passer efficiency (152.6) and points responsible for (216). Junior defensive end Derek Barnett leads the SEC and is tied for sixth in the nation with 12.0 sacks and his 18.0 tackles for loss lead the league and rank 15th nationally. Barnett’s 32.0 career sacks also rank second nationally and he is tied with the late great Reggie White for the most sacks in UT history.
Tennessee and Nebraska have played each other just twice in the combined 247 seasons of football history between the schools. The Cornhuskers defeated the Vols, 42-17, in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 1998. Nebraska also took a 31-21 win over UT on Jan. 2, 1999, in the Fiesta Bowl. Tennessee faces a Big Ten opponent in postseason play for the third-straight year as the Vols defeated Iowa two years ago in the TaxSlayer Bowl and Northwestern last season in the Outback Bowl.
Nebraska, which is No. 21 in the latest Amway Coaches Poll and No. 24 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll, is 9-3 and finished the regular season with the fifth-best overall record in the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers have averaged 26.8 points per game and feature an outstanding offensive line that has allowed just 11 sacks on the year, which is the fewest in the Big Ten and ties for the sixth-fewest in the nation. Senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. has passed for 2,180 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions and has run for 512 yards and eight scores. On defense, Nebraska ranks second in the Big Ten and 12th nationally in interceptions with 16.
This year’s game against Nebraska will mark Tennessee’s second appearance in the Music City Bowl. The Vols previously played in the bowl in 2010, falling to North Carolina, 30-27, in double overtime.
Established in 1998, the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl has transformed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day into one of the city’s busiest times of the year for tourism. Since its inception, the Bowl has produced over $268 million in direct economic impact to Nashville.
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Nebraska and Tennessee to Nashville for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl,” said Dan Crockett, President/CEO of Franklin American Mortgage Company. “This is our seventh year as the Bowl’s title sponsor, and we’ve always been impressed with the national recognition the game has brought to our company and the city of Nashville. Additionally, it is our honor to use the game as an opportunity to give back to our numerous Bowl-related charities. I wish Nebraska and Tennessee the best of luck, and I’m looking forward to another great game!”