Outback Bowl: Tennessee vs Northwestern

ZZ Tennessee vs Northwestern

Tennessee vs Northwestern/photo submitted

By Stephen K. Lee

Tennessee will play in its 51st bowl game on Jan. 1, 2016, when the Vols take on No. 12 Northwestern in the 30th annual Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

The ESPN2 broadcast will feature Tom Hart and Rod Gilmore in the booth and Quint Kessenich reporting from the sidelines. Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate with Bob Kesling, Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs in the booth and John Brice on the sidelines.

Tickets for the game can be purchased online via Ticketmaster.com.

Tennessee (8-4, 5-3 SEC) and Northwestern (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) have faced each other once before. The Vols defeated the Wildcats, 48-28 in the 1997 Florida Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 1997, in Orlando, Fla. Peyton Manning led Tennessee to victory with 408 passing yards and four touchdowns.

UT finished the 2015 regular season with a five-game winning streak. The Vols have their first five-game win streak and their first eight-win season since 2007 when UT won its last five games to finish 9-3. Tennessee capped the regular season with a 53-28 win over SEC rival Vanderbilt on Nov. 28. The Vols are ranked No. 23 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Northwestern also concluded its regular-season slate with a five-game winning streak to post a 10-2 record, the Wildcats’ fourth 10-win season in program history. NU qualified for its 12th bowl game and its sixth under head coach Pat Fitzgerald. Northwestern wrapped its regular season with a 24-14 win over Illinois on Nov. 28 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Wildcats are ranked No. 12 in the AP and Coaches polls and No. 13 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

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