THE FLATS – Georgia Tech will face UCF in the 2023 Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl on Friday, Dec. 22 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Gasparilla Bowl announced on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
The bowl invitation is the 46th in Georgia Tech history, which is the 16th-most in college football history and the third-most for a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (behind only Clemson – 50 and Florida State – 49). With a 25-20 all-time record in bowl games, Tech is tied for 13th all-time in bowl victories and stands alone in 13th all-time in bowl winning percentage (.556).
The Yellow Jackets are making their first-ever appearance in the Gasparilla Bowl, which originated in 2008. The Jackets are also facing UCF for the first time in a bowl but the sixth time overall. Georgia Tech owns a 3-2 against UCF, but the Golden Knights have won the last two games in the series in 2020 and 2022.
Georgia Tech earned its first bowl berth since 2018 after finishing 6-6 in the regular season, including a 5-3 mark in ACC play. The Yellow Jackets tied for fourth place in the ACC standings after being picked to finish 12th in the conference’s preseason poll. The Jackets have been especially potent on offense, ranking among the top five in the ACC in rushing (first – 197.1 ypg), total offense (third – 429.1 ypg), scoring offense (fourth – 31.2 ppg) and passing efficiency (fifth – 139.80).
Tech’s offense is led by redshirt-sophomore quarterback Haynes King (2,755 passing yards, 648 rushing yards, 26 touchdown passes, nine touchdown runs), who is one of only two players in the nation with at least 2,700 passing yards, 600 rushing yards, 25 touchdown passes and five touchdown runs this season, joining LSU’s Jayden Daniels. The Jackets’ offense also features redshirt-sophomore running back Jamal Haynes, a third-team all-ACC selection who ranks fifth in the league with 931 rushing yards this season and is on the verge of becoming Tech’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2017.
Defensively, Tech ranks 13th nationally in takeaways (23) and fumble recoveries (10) and 20th in interceptions (13). Leading the way is redshirt-senior defensive back and second-team all-ACC honoree Jaylon King, who ranks 16th nationally in interceptions (4) and 17th in fumble recoveries (2) to go along with 68 tackles, eight pass breakups and a blocked kick.
VIDEO: Jaylon King and Haynes King Bowl Announcement Press Conference
In his first season as Georgia Tech’s permanent head coach, Brent Key’s first bowl game at the helm of the Yellow Jackets will be a reunion of sorts, as he spent 11 seasons (2005-15) as an assistant coach at UCF under legendary Georgia Tech and UCF head coach George O’Leary, beginning as a graduate assistant in 2005 and working his way up to assistant head coach and offensive coordinator before departing to become offensive line coach at Alabama in 2016.
Key has led the Yellow Jackets to 10 wins in one-plus season as the head coach at his alma mater (including a 4-4 record as interim head coach in 2022), surpassing the Jackets’ nine wins over the previous three seasons combined (2019-21). He finished fourth in voting for 2023 ACC Coach of the Year.
VIDEO: Brent Key Bowl Announcement Press Conference
UCF is 6-6 this season, including a 3-6 conference record in its first season as a member of the Big 12. The Golden Knights went 3-1 over its final four games of the season to become bowl eligible, with wins over Cincinnati (28-26 on Nov. 4), then-No. 15 Oklahoma State (45-3 on Nov. 11) and Houston (27-13 on Nov. 25).
Tech fans are urged to strengthen the Yellow Jackets’ candidacy for future premier bowl selections, as well as guarantee the best seats alongside other Yellow Jacket fans in exclusive Tech seating areas, by purchasing Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl tickets directly from Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech tickets will be allocated in the following order:
- Current Alexander-Tharpe Fund Donors (based on Priority Points as of Wednesday, Dec. 6 – donors have until the close of business on Wednesday, Dec. 6 to earn additional Priority Points with new gifts to the A-T Fund, including the Competitive Drive Initiative Turn 2).
- 2023 Football Season Ticket Members
- 2024 New Football Season Tickets Members – Click HERE to purchase 2024 season tickets
- Order Date
For more information and to secure your Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl tickets, visit ramblinwreck.com/bowl.
Competitive Drive Initiative Turn 2
Looking to build on the success of last year’s Competitive Drive Initiative, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Tech Foundation and Georgia Tech athletics are partnering once again to launch Competitive Drive Initiative Turn 2. CDI Turn 2 has a goal of raising $2.5 million in new gifts to the Alexander-Tharpe Fund’s Athletic Scholarship Fund by Dec. 31, and Georgia Tech and the Georgia Tech Foundation will match eligible gifts to accelerate the impact for Tech athletics. Like last year, not only will gifts to CDI Turn 2 be matched, but so will the contributor’s benefits in the way of A-T Fund giving levels and priority points. To learn more and contribute online, visit atfund.org/turn2.