Music City Bowl pits Mississippi vs. Georgia Tech
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
The Mississippi Rebels will finish the season in the same place where they started back in August.
The Rebels will play Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 in a pairing announced Sunday night. Ole Miss opened the season beating Vanderbilt a couple miles from LP Field, home of the bowl game. Now the Rebels are back in this bowl for the second time.
''We have one of the great bowl traditions in all of college football, and I'm excited that we have earned a bowl berth in each of our first two seasons,'' Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. ''I appreciate the unbelievable support Rebel Nation has provided our team, and I look forward to seeing a sea of Red and Blue in Nashville.''
Ole Miss (7-5) finished on a two-game skid that dropped the Rebels out of the Top 25 rankings. The Rebels played in the BBVA Compass Bowl last season.
This will be the 35th bowl appearance all-time by Ole Miss. The Rebels are 22-12, including last season when Ole Miss beat Pittsburgh 38-17 at the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., to cap Freeze's first season.
The last time Ole Miss played in the Music City Bowl, David Cutcliffe was the coach and Eli Manning was the Rebels' quarterback. That's the only bowl the Rebels have lost over the past 10 bowl trips going back to the 1992 Liberty Bowl.
Ole Miss lost 49-38 to West Virginia in their first Music City Bowl. These Rebels have plenty of Tennessee connections starting at quarterback in Bo Wallace, a native of Giles County, and a running back in I'Tavius Mathers from nearby Murfreesboro.
Rebels athletic director Ross Bjork said Ole Miss has 126,000 alumni within a day's drive. Added to the Rebels' season opening win over Vanderbilt, he said Nashville is a stronghold for Ole Miss.
''We know our fans will continue our stellar reputation of supporting our team and filling up LP Field,'' Bjork said. ''Last year was Lock the Legion and now we have the Music City Encore.''
Georgia Tech (7-5) will be making its first appearance in the bowl sponsored by Franklin American Mortgage as the Atlantic Coast Conference's representative. This is the Yellow Jackets' 17th straight bowl berth, tied for the second longest streak nationally, and 42nd overall. They went to the Sun Bowl the past two seasons and beat Southern California 21-7 last year.
''Ole Miss is a very talented football team and they are well-coached, so we certainly have our work cut out for us,'' Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. ''It should be an entertaining football game.''
This will be the first game between these teams since 1971 when Ole Miss beat the Yellow Jackets 41-18 in the Peach Bowl. Georgia Tech won the other two games in this series in 1956 and at the 1953 Sugar Bowl, the last capping an undefeated season.
Georgia Tech has never played at LP Field, home to the NFL's Tennessee Titans, and the Yellow Jackets last played in Nashville in 2009.
AP Sports Writers David Brandt in Mississippi and Paul Newberry in Georgia contributed to this report.