LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville football team has accepted a bid to the TaxSlayer.com Bowl, to be played in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 30. The Cardinals will face Mississippi State from the Southeastern Conference in EverBank Field. The game will be played at noon and televised by ESPN.

“Playing a bowl game in the state of Florida is a great reward for our players, staff and fans,” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. “We have a large number of players from Florida so I know our players will be excited to make the trip. The TaxSlayer Bowl has a great tradition for being one of the best bowls, and I know our fans will be thrilled for another trip to the Sunshine State and playing an excellent Mississippi State team.”

The Bulldogs finished the season 8-4, and ranked No. 23 in the final College Football Playoff rankings. They also lost their head coach, Dan Mullen, to the head coaching job at Florida just after the season. (Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who left Louisville for Mississippi State after the 2016 season, also departed for Florida.)

Mississippi State hired Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead as its next head coach, but he won’t coach the bowl game. That job will fall to Greg Knox, a former running backs coach and special teams coordinator. Terrell Buckley, a former assistant to Bobby Petrino at Louisville, also remains on the MSU staff as cornerbacks coach.

The Bulldogs not only will be playing with an interim coach, but they're without starting quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who went down with an injury in the team's season-finale against Ole Miss and had to undergo ankle surgery.  Freshman Keytaon Thompson will take his place.

Louisville comes into the game with momentum, having won three straight, including a 44-17 blowout win over Kentucky (a team Mississippi State beat 45-7 at home during the regular season).

Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson has said he’ll play in the bowl game – though there has been no announcement on the NFL Draft at this point. Jackson led the nation in total offense this past season. If he plays, he'll get to return to his home state. He is from Boynton Beach, Fla.

The Cards rushed for 1,055 yards in their final three games of the regular season, averaging 8.2 yards per carry.

This marks Louisville’s 22nd bowl appearance in school history, the eighth in the Petrino era. Overall, the Cardinals own a 10-10-1 overall record and are 3-4 under Petrino, splitting the last four postseason encounters. Louisville fell 29-9 to LSU last season in the Citrus Bowl.

“Accepting a bid to the TaxSlayer Bowl is a well-deserved honor and reward for our team and coaching staff,” interim Director of Athletics Vince Tyra said. “The team has won three-consecutive games and enters the postseason on a high note. The TaxSlayer Bowl has an outstanding tradition and our university is thrilled to be selected to this prestigious bowl. Our fans have always responded well in the postseason, especially games played in the state of Florida. I know our fans are excited for this opportunity and I fully expect them to be a major presence in Jacksonville.”

The game will be Louisville’s first meeting with Mississippi State since 1976. The teams have split four meetings. Both are making their eighth straight bowl appearance.

TICKETS

The Louisville Ticket Office is now accepting ticket requests for the TaxSlayer Bowl from both season-ticket holders and the general public. Fans should visit GoCards.com/Bowl for full information and requests can be submitted through My Cardinals Account.

Travel packages are available through Anthony Travel by visiting GoCardsTravel.com/bowl.

Fans are highly encouraged to request tickets through UofL Athletics, as institutional ticket purchases can impact future bowl opportunities. The priority deadline to request bowl tickets is Monday at 4 p.m.

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