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STATE COLLEGE, Pa., December 8, 2002 -- Penn State and Auburn will tangle in the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2003 in Orlando, Fla.
The Tigers (8-4) were selected today to face the Nittany Lions in the contest, which will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. ET on New Year's Day. ABC will televise the contest to a national audience.
Penn State and Auburn will meeting for just the second time, with the previous clash resulting in a 43-14 Nittany Lion victory in the Outback Bowl in January 1, 1996.
Coached by Tommy Tuberville, Auburn finished the regular season by defeating then No. 9 Alabama, 17-7, winning four of its final five games. Among the Tigers' other wins are victories against LSU (31-7) and Mississippi (31-24). Three of Auburn's losses have come by seven points or less to ranked teams: USC (24-17), Florida (30-23, OT) and SEC Champion Georgia (24-21). The other loss was to SEC West representative Arkansas. Auburn was 5-3 in SEC play.
The No. 10 Nittany Lions (9-3) will be playing in the Orlando bowl game for the fourth time, having previously played in the Florida Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day in 1988, 1994 and '98.
Penn State will be playing in its 31st bowl in the 37th season for Joe Paterno, who is the all-time leader in postseason victories (20) and appearances. Paterno, the NCAA Division I-A leader in career victories with 336, has an impressive 20-9-1 (68.3) winning percentage in bowl games, third-best all-time among coaches with at least 11 bowl appearances. The legendary coach has taken Penn State to 13 different post-season contests, winning in 11 locales, more than any other anyone in college football history. In his 53rd season as a member of the Lions' coaching staff, Paterno teams are 14-5 in New Year's Day games.
"We are looking forward to playing in the Capital One Bowl and meeting a very good Auburn team," stated Paterno, who has an overall mark of 336-99-3 (77.0). "Auburn has a great football tradition. They finished the season strong, winning four of their last five, with a close loss to a great Georgia team and a big win over Alabama."
Penn State will be making its 37th bowl appearance, which seventh-best nationally. The Nittany Lions have a 23-11-2 (66.7) bowl record, tied for third in wins (with Tennessee) and tied for first in winning percentage among schools with at least 10 postseason victories (with Georgia Tech). The Lions' last bowl was the '99 Alamo Bowl.
The Nittany Lions are 1-2 in Orlando, losing to Clemson, 35-10, in the 1988 game, defeating Tennessee, 31-13, in the 1994 contest and falling to Florida, 21-6, in the 1998 game.
Auburn also will be making its fourth trip to the Capital One Bowl and owns a 2-1 record. The Tigers beat Boston College in 1982, USC in 1987 and lost to Michigan, 31-28, in the 2001 contest.
Penn State is ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls, winning its last four contests. All three of the Nittany Lions' losses have come to teams listed in the top 11 of the final BCS rankings, with overtime losses to Iowa and Michigan and a 13-7 loss at unbeaten Ohio State.
Auburn is ranked No. 20 in the AP poll and No. 22 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.
The Nittany Lions are 7-4 vs. SEC foes in bowl games, with the last meeting a 26-14 win over Kentucky in the 1999 Outback Bowl. Penn State is 6-3 vs. SEC opponents in post-season contests under Paterno.
Penn State fans can purchase tickets for the Capital One Bowl until 8 p.m. tonight through the athletic ticket office. All tickets are $70, which includes a $5.00 processing fee. There is a limit of four tickets per account. The numbers to call for tickets are: 1-800-863-3336 or 814-865-5555.
Ticket allocation will not be made until all orders have been received and will be based on Nittany Lion Club priority point totals.