KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Tennessee will meet Nebraska in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
The Vols (8-4), who are coming off a 45-34 loss to Vanderbilt last week, put together a similar regular season as their upcoming competition.
Nebraska (9-3) started the season 7-0 before losing its next three out of five games. The Cornhuskers are also coming off a loss to end the regular season. Nebraska fell to Iowa 40-10 on Nov. 25.
Tennessee, who began the season 5-0, lost four out of its next seven games.
“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.”
While Tennessee will make its 52nd all-time bowl appearance (tied for the fourth all-time in college football history), the Vols do not have a rich tradition against Nebraska. The two programs have played each other just twice in the combined 247 seasons of football history between the schools. Tennessee fell to Nebraska 42-17 in the 1998 Orange Bowl before the Cornhuskers followed it up with a 31-21 win in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl.
This season marks the third consecutive season the Vols have been paired with a Big Ten opponent in postseason play. Tennessee is coming off wins against Iowa (2014 TaxSlayer Bowl) and Northwestern (2015 Outback Bowl). A win against Nebraska would give the Vols three straight bowl wins since 1994-96 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.”
Derek Barnett, who is tied with Reggie White with 32.0 career sacks, needs one more to take sole possession of the Vols all-time record.
The junior defensive end will have his work cut out for him in the Music City Bowl, facing an offensive line that has allowed just 11 sacks on the year. That is the fewest in the Big Ten and ties for the sixth-fewest in the nation. Barnett leads the SEC and is tied for sixth in the nation with 12.0 sacks this season.
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.