The Konica Minolta Gator Bowl announced on Sunday it has selected Nebraska to participate in its game on Jan. 1, 2009, at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.

                                                               

The 8-4 Cornhuskers, winners of five of their final six games, will take on Atlantic Coast Conference representative Clemson. Like Nebraska, the 7-5 Tigers finished strong, winning four of their final five games, including victories over Duke, Virginia and South Carolina to close the season.

 

The game will kick off at 1 p.m. EST (Noon, Central) on New Year’s Day, and will be televised nationally on CBS. The meeting will be the second all-time between Nebraska and Clemson. The first meeting took place in the 1982 Orange Bowl with Clemson posting a 22-15 victory to cap an undefeated season and win the national championship.

 

This will mark Nebraska’s first-ever trip to the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl, the 14th different bowl game in which Nebraska has participated. This year’s bowl appearance marks Nebraska’s 45th all-time bowl appearance, the fifth-highest total nationally. The Gator Bowl will also mark Nebraska’s 32nd bowl game on or after New Year’s Day.

 

The appearance in the game will also mark the 18th Nebraska bowl game in Florida, including 16 Orange Bowls and one appearance in the Florida Citrus Bowl. However, this is the first trip to Florida for a bowl game for the Huskers since the 1998 Orange Bowl, when Nebraska captured its fifth national championship with a victory over Tennessee.

 

Nebraska stood 3-3 at mid-season, but won five of its final six games with its only loss in that stretch coming at the hands of Big 12 Champion Oklahoma. Nebraska capped the regular season with three straight victories for the first time since 1999. A victory in the Gator Bowl would give Nebraska just its second nine-win season since 2003, but the 43rd overall nine-win campaign in school history.

 

“We are excited about having a chance to play on New Year’s Day in a game like the Gator Bowl,” Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini said. “We are excited about how far we have come as a football team and this is a great reward.”

 

Clemson boasts one of the nation’s top defenses entering the Gator Bowl. The Tigers rank 17th nationally in total defense, allowing just 294.8 yards per game and are 10th in passing yards allowed at 167.3 yards per game. Clemson has allowed just 16.6 points per game to rank 10th nationally, and has limited six opponents to 14 points or less including each of the final three games of the season. The Tigers are coached by Dabo Swinney who served as the interim coach for the final six games of the season, before being named head coach last week.

 

Tickets for the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl are available at Huskers.com and can also be purchased by calling 1-800-8 BIG RED or in person at the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office. Tickets were made available on Thursday and more than 8,500 tickets already sold, so Husker fans are encouraged to buy tickets early this week. Tickets for the game are $50 each.