KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – After seven victories and establishing one of the nation’s top offenses in Josh Heupel‘s debut season, Tennessee football will culminate 2021 in Nashville as the Volunteers face Purdue in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 in Nissan Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT live on ESPN. Tickets for the game are on sale now at musiccitybowl.com.
“I’d first like to thank Scott Ramsey and the TransPerfect Music City Bowl for their enthusiasm about hosting Vol Nation,” Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White said. “There is extraordinary love and support for the Vols in and around Nashville, and it will be incredible to see Big Orange fans from all across the country converge in the midstate to celebrate our football team during bowl week. We’re all incredibly proud of our football student-athletes, coaches and staff for earning this postseason opportunity.”
“We are excited about finishing this first season in our home state in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl,” Heupel said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to put the finishing touches on the positive momentum we have created over our first 11 months. I am especially thrilled for our seniors, who get one more chance to compete. Purdue is an outstanding and well-coached team. I look forward to seeing all of Vol Nation in Nashville, and I know our team has appreciated your support the entire season.”
The Volunteers (7-5, 4-4 SEC) and Boilermakers (8-4, 6-3 Big Ten) will square off for the second time and first since the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl. Purdue won that contest by a score of 27-22 in Johnny Majors’ third season.
Led by senior quarterback Hendon Hooker, the Vols’ fast-paced offense finished in the top 25 nationally in total offense (459.0 – 16th), scoring offense (38.8 – ninth), rushing offense (212.0 – 19th), first down offense (23.8 – 19th) and third down efficiency (46.2 – 13th). Heupel’s impact led UT to its second-highest point per game total in modern school history, behind only the 1993 squad (42.8 ppg).
Defensively, the Vols stood out under Broyles Award candidate and defensive coordinator Tim Banks. The unit finished with 94 tackles for loss, which ranked second in school history and top 10 nationally. The Vols’ three defensive touchdowns ranked second in the SEC and 12th nationally.
Heupel becomes the fifth Vol coach in the past 70 years to lead the Vols to a bowl berth in his debut season.
It will be Tennessee’s 54th all-time bowl appearance, which ranks fifth nationally. It will also be the Vols’ third Music City Bowl appearance. UT topped Nebraska, 38-24, in the 2016 edition of the game. The Vols dropped a 30-27 double overtime game to North Carolina in the 2010 Music City Bowl.