In an unexpected twist, Kentucky will finish its 2023 football season by facing Clemson in the Gator Bowl. Kickoff in Jacksonville’s EverBank Stadium is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 29 at Noon on ESPN.
“On behalf of our team and all of us at the University of Kentucky, we are excited to accept the invitation to the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl,” Mark Stoops said in a statement. “The Big Blue Nation always represents at our bowl destination and we are excited to spend time in Jacksonville. We look forward to a great week and our team can’t wait to play one more time this season.”
One of the longest-running bowl games in college football, here are a few things you need to know about the 79th edition of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.
1. Tickets through UK are Available Monday Morning
Season ticket holders who placed a bowl ticket request during the priority period will receive emails Sunday evening confirming their spot at EverBank Stadium. The rest of the Kentucky allotment will go on sale Monday morning at 9 am EST at UKFootballTix.com.
You can find Gator Bowl tickets right now at TicketMaster for $60, however, it benefits the university’s standing in future bowl games if you wait and help sell out the allotted tickets for the Big Blue Nation. Despite a somewhat lackluster season at Clemson, expect plenty of Tiger fans to rally around their team and make the trip to Jacksonville.
2. Kentucky Football and Basketball Doubleheader
For the second straight year, the Kentucky football and basketball teams will play on the same day. Fortunately, this time there is not a direct conflict of interest.
Last year Mark Stoops’ team kicked off against Iowa in the Music City Bowl at the same exact time John Calipari’s Cats tipped-off against Louisville. This year more closely resembles 2017 when there was at least a few hours between games. Kentucky and Clemson will kick off at noon on ESPN. Once the postgame celebration ends, Antonio Reeves will face off against his former team, Illinois State, for a 7 pm EST game at Rupp Arena on the SEC Network.
3. Double-Dip with the Jaguars
Kentucky fans can watch their favorite Wildcats twice in three days. Josh Allen and Luke Fortner will be suiting up Dec. 31 at 1 pm EST inside EverBank Stadium. A win over the Carolina Panthers can help the Jaguars secure an AFC South Division Title.
The city of Jacksonville is investing in the Jaguars with plans to completely renovate EverBank Stadium and construct an adjacent entertainment district nearby. The entertainment district is still not finished and stadium construction is still two years away, but they did recently complete a new practice facility. You should not have to dodge heavy machinery to be able to park near the stadium.
4. Kentucky’s Fourth Bowl Game vs. Clemson
Bowl opponents have become somewhat redundant in recent years thanks to consecutive postseason meetings between Kentucky and Iowa. We’re getting another semi-familiar foe when the Cats take on Clemson in the Gator Bowl.
Kentucky and Clemson have played in three previous meetings. Kentucky let a Peach Bowl slip away when Marty Moore fumbled the game-clinching interception in 1993. Fast forward to the Music City Bowl in 2006 when Andre Woodson tossed three touchdown passes to propel the Cats to a 28-20 victory, Kentucky’s first postseason win in 22 years. CJ Spiller helped Clemson get some revenge in the same bowl four years later with a 21-13 win, Dabo Swinney’s first postseason victory as the Tigers’ head coach.