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Penn State to face Kentucky in Citrus Bowl

James Franklin has Penn State playing in a bowl game for the fifth year in a row

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State will be heading to the Sunshine State for its bowl matchup as they will face Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day.

The Nittany Lions are far from strangers to games being played in Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., which will host this year’s Citrus Bowl. Penn State’s tilt against the Wildcats will tie the Nittany Lions with Florida and Georgia for the most appearances in the Citrus Bowl with six.

James Franklin’s team earned its appearance by way of a 9-3 record, with all three losses coming to ranked teams — Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan. For Mark Stoops’ Wildcats finished second in the SEC East losing to Texas A&M, Georgia and Tennessee.

Kentucky’s victory over Florida helped catapult it to the second place finish after being picked to finish fourth in the SEC East in the preseason.

The Wildcats are led by running back Benny Snell, Jr. who’s rushed for 1,305 yards this season and 14 touchdowns on 263 carries. Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson has thrown for 1,768 yards and 11 touchdowns, but has also thrown eight interceptions.

Defensively, the Wildcats have done an excellent job of keeping opponents out of the end zone as they’ve allowed only 24 touchdowns. On the other hand, Kentucky has been susceptible to getting gashed by the run, allowing 150.8 yards per game on the ground. Through the air, the Wildcats are allowing an average of 181.3 yards per game.

Kentucky was 2-2 in the last four weeks of the season, losing to Georgia and Tennessee, respectively, before beating Middle Tennessee State and Louisville. Penn State was 3-1 in its last four games, winning three in a row after being routed by Michigan.

The two programs have squared off once before in a bowl game, the 1998 Outback Bowl, a 26-14 victory for Penn State. Prior to that, the two hadn’t met since the 1970s, when the teams played each other in four consecutive seasons from 1975-1978.