Vols to play Iowa in Citrus Bowl

Published 5:02 pm Monday, December 4, 2023

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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 1 p.m. on ABC.

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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.

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 ties 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)

Aug. 30, 1987 – Tennessee 23, Iowa 22 (Kickoff Classic – East Rutherford, New Jersey)

Jan. 2, 2015 – Tennessee 45, Iowa 28 (Gator Bowl – Jacksonville, Florida)