JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — John Duce, Chairman of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, announced today that the North Carolina State Wolfpack will play the University of Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, January 2, in the 76th playing of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.  These two teams have met head-to-head only three times in the history of their programs with the last meeting in 1970.

“We are very excited to welcome #23 North Carolina State vs the University of Kentucky to Jacksonville for the 76th Annual TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. It will be a tremendous match-up, and we are honored to host these players and coaches who have experienced a season like no other and are here today because of their perseverance and dedication,” said John Duce, Chairman of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

“The team at TaxSlayer is looking forward to having North Carolina State and the University of Kentucky head to Jacksonville for this year’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl,” said Brian Rhodes, TaxSlayer President and CEO. “They’ll be at the center of an unforgettable event sure to honor the rich history of this iconic game and entertain fans both in the stands and tuning in from home.”

Kentucky enters the bowl with a 4-6 record including winning its regular-season finale having played a 10-game regular season schedule exclusively against Southeastern Conference opponents. The Cats are one of only two teams in the country to have played four opponents who were ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game: No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Florida and No. 8 Auburn.

“The University of Kentucky is very honored to represent the Southeastern Conference in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics.  “Having had the opportunity to be in the game in 2016, we have so much respect for Rick Catlett and his staff.   Rick has been an incredible friend of college football and we appreciate all he has done.  For UK, we’re excited about moving our football program forward with a fifth-straight bowl game. This has been a challenging year and to complete the season in the Gator Bowl is an incredible opportunity.”

“We are very excited to accept a bid to the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl,” head coach Mark Stoops said. “I want to thank the Gator Bowl for the invitation and I want to thank our administration, Dr. Eli Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart, for their unwavering support this season. It’s been a very trying year for all of us and our team is ready to move forward with a fifth straight bowl game. We look forward to playing a great team in NC State. I’ve known Coach (Dave) Doeren a long time and I have great respect for him and his program.”

NC State finished the season ranked #23 in the CFP Rankings.  The squad posted one of the top turnarounds in college football this season finishing 8-3 this year after finishing 4-8 in an injury-plagued 2019 season.  The Wolfpack closed the season with four straight wins – that’s the most consecutive wins to close out a regular season since 2008.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to compete in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl against a quality opponent from the SEC,” said NC State Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan. “We look forward to heading to Jacksonville, our players, coaches and staff have worked incredibly hard throughout this season to put our program in this position, and we’re glad it will end in a January bowl game.”

“We are excited for the chance to return to the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. This is a great reward for our players at the end of what has been a very unique season” NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren.

Stadium Capacity and Social Distancing Guidelines:  In compliance with City of Jacksonville guidelines, the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl will seat approximately 25 percent of the stadium capacity for this year’s game.  To ensure fans can still enjoy the event with family and friends, limited capacity seating will be grouped in pods of no more than six.  Fan health and safety, along with that of the participating teams, coaches, and stadium personnel, is our number one priority.   New protocols are in place to help minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 when coming to TIAA Bank Field, including required face coverings.  The TaxSlayer Gator Bowl has also instituted mobile ticketing, cashless concessions and enhanced cleaning protocols to keep fans safe.  More information on stadium policies and procedures can be found at

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Play & Win:  TaxSlayer Gator Bowl Play and Win is a new, exciting way to enjoy the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl experience from the stands or at home. On game day, tune into the action on your big screen and go to on your phone or other connected device to play along! The grand prize of $3,125 will be given away during the game and up to $250 cash per quarter! To learn more or pre-register to play, visit

The 76th Annual TaxSlayer Gator Bowl will be played on Saturday, January 2, 2021, at noon at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla, and will be nationally televised on ESPN. Tickets are available online at or call (904) 633-6000.