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Monday, Oct 23, 2017
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Outback Bowl to pair Georgia, Michigan State on Jan. 2

TAMPA - The No. 12-ranked Michigan State Spartans (10-3) and No. 18 Georgia Bulldogs (10-3) are coming to the Jan. 2 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Pick your favorite storyline. For the first time in the Outback's 26-game history, the bowl has a pair of 10-win teams. It's a homecoming game for Georgia sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray and junior tight end Orson Charles, who both played at Plant High School.
It's the first trip to Tampa for Michigan State. It's a matchup of two highly ranked defenses. Nationally, Georgia is third and Michigan State is fifth. "This is going to be a heavyweight fight,'' Outback Bowl president and CEO Jim McVay said. "These are BCS quality teams. They both want to get to 11 wins and end on a good note. So it has everything you'd want for a compelling bowl game.'' The Outback matchup was secured Sunday night when the Michigan Wolverines (10-2) were pulled up to secure a Bowl Championship Series at-large spot. Orlando's Capital One Bowl selected South Carolina (10-2) to oppose Nebraska (9-3). Coach Mark Richt's Bulldogs will become the first team to make five Tampa bowl appearances and could be the first four-time champion. The Bulldogs were 0-2 after losses against Boise State and South Carolina, then won 10 straight games to capture the SEC's Eastern Division. Saturday, after taking a 10-point lead, the Bulldogs fell to top-ranked LSU 42-10 in the SEC championship game. Murray has a single-season school record with 33 touchdown passes. Charles is Georgia's leading receiver with 44 catches for 572 yards and five touchdowns. Michigan State, meanwhile, finished with the Big Ten's best regular-season conference record at 7-1 to capture the Leaders Division. Coach Mark Dantonio's Spartans fell to Wisconsin 42-39 in Saturday night's inaugural Big Ten championship game. The Spartans are led by senior Kirk Cousins, who has the most quarterback wins in school history. Cousins threw for 24 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. TICKETS: Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or by calling (813) 287-8844. The Outback Bowl can be reached at (813) 874-2695 or outbackbowl.com. (813) 259-7353
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