LSU rewarded with trip to Jan. 2 Citrus Bowl against Purdue

LSU finished No. 15 and No. 16, respectively, in the final Top 25 polls in the first year under coach Brian Kelly. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

A day after appearing in the Southeastern Conference Championship game, LSU was awarded a trip to Orlando to participate in the 77th Annual Citrus Bowl.

The Tigers (9-4), under first-year coach Brien Kelly, are paired with Purdue (8-5) in the Jan. 2 game at noon. The game will be televised by ABC.

“We’re certainly excited about and I know our team certainly is looking forward to getting back on the winning ways,” Kelly said during a Zoom call with reporters Sunday. “And you know, we’ve lost two games, obviously to the No. 1 team in the country this past weekend. But again, you know, playing a Purdue team that won their side of the Big 10, I have a of respect (Purdue coach) for Jeff (Brohm) and his teams play with an edge played him when I was at Notre Dame and you know.

“He’s got a great creative offense, really good defensive structure, and it’ll be a great matchup between two teams that want to go out on a winning note,” Kelly said. “We to finish on a positive note, so excited about being back in Orlando, seeing some old friends. We really appreciate this opportunity to play in this game.”

LSU, which lost 50-30 to No. 1 Georgia in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game, will play in the same venue – Camping World Stadium – where they will open the 2023 season (Jan. 3) against Florida State.

LSU and Purdue have ever met in the postseason.

LSU will play in its first Citrus Bowl since appearing in the game in successive years in 2016-17. The Tigers experienced varying results, defeating Louisville 29-9 in ’16, and falling to a Brian Kelly-coached Notre Dame team, 21-17, in ’17.

This marks the 54th bowl game in program history where LSU has a 29-24-1 record compared to Purdue’s 20th bowl trip. The Tigers lost in last year’s Texas Bowl after a self-imposed bowl ban in 2021.

LSU won the SEC’s Western Division with a 6-2 record. The Tigers recorded Top 10 wins during the regular season with a 45-20 victory over then No. 7 Ole Miss and 32-31 overtime triumph against then No. 7 Alabama.

Purdue brings in a 8-5 record following Saturday’s 43-22 loss to Michigan in the Big 10 Conference Championship.

The Boilermakers of coach Jeff Brohm began with a 1-2 record, falling to Penn State and Syracuse, before responding with a four-game winning streak and wound up 6-3 in Big 10 play, winning the league’s Eastern Division.

“I think he’s got a national reputation as a creative play caller and let’s face it, he’s very creative,” Kelly said of Brohm. “I think he does a really good job. They’re going to throw the football and they always have a big physical back which they do again this year. But they play with an edge. I mean, this is a team he talked about, ‘You know we’re good old Purdue. We’re going to rally, and he coaches his guys and does a great job of getting them ready to play physical football.

“You know, Indiana Midwest, toughness, he recruits those kind of guys,” Kelly said. “So, it’s not just talk. I’ve gone against them and they play physical, they play hard, and you better be ready to play for four quarters because they’re going to come after you. It’s not just about pretty plays and creative play calling and that happens, too. But I think what makes this team different is they play really hard, and they play physical.”

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