LSU Officially Accepts Chick-fil-A Bowl Invitation
LSU Sports Interactive
BATON ROUGE -- Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan and Chick-fil-A vice president Steve Robinson officially extended an invitation to the New Year’s Eve bowl game to LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva and head coach Les Miles in a press conference on Thursday at the LSU Athletic Administration Building.
The Tigers (7-5) take on 14th-ranked Georgia Tech (9-3) at 6:30 p.m. CST on Dec. 31 in the Georgia Dome. The contest will feature a nationally televised audience on ESPN.
LSU fans are invited to “Paint Atlanta Purple” as tickets to the 41st annual Chick-fil-A Bowl are available starting at $60 through www.LSUsports.net or the LSU Athletics Ticket Office by calling 1-800-960-TKTS or 225-578-2184.
The ticket office, on the first floor of the athletic administration building, will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and open on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the athletics building. Tickets will also be on sale from 5:30 p.m. to halftime at the upper ticket windows of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center during the LSU-Grambling State basketball game that night at 7 p.m.
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL PRESIDENT GARY STOKAN
“To have the defending nation champions is very strong for our bowl game. To have LSU with such a great TV brand playing in our game is very, very powerful. LSU is the team that we wanted. LSU has a very special relationship with the Chick-fil-A bowl. Back in 2000, (former LSU quarterback) Rohan Davey had his coming out game here. They were down against Georgia Tech and came back to win 28-14 and a lot of those kids that watched that game were the kids who signed and helped lead LSU to the 2003 national championship. 2005 was (former LSU quarterback) Matt Flynn’s coming out party in a huge win for LSU, the biggest margin of victory we’ve had in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, 40-3, over 10th-ranked Miami that year.”
“Obviously, we know about the fan base of LSU not only in Atlanta, but all over the country; not only viewing-wise, but attendance-wise, as well. There’s nothing like the LSU band and fans when they get in that Georgia Dome it gets awfully loud. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a louder crowd than the LSU fans when we get them in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.”
“Obviously, we know about LSU’s players; they are great athletes. They lost to four top-20 teams and that’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of with number one and No. 4 and also No. 16 and No. 20. If they win two or three of those games, they’re probably back in the national championship and those games were close enough where they could have won them.”
“They (LSU) have a top-25 rushing defense. That’s relevant because Georgia Tech has the No.3-ranked rushing offense in the nation. It’s a nice contrast; a great defense against a great offense.”
“There are 19 seniors on this squad. They have 50 wins and only 13 losses. They’ve won a national championship and an SEC championship and they’ve won their last three bowl games. When you look at matchups, Georgia Tech is probably one of the hottest teams in the country this year with their new offense at that level. When you talk about LSU matching up against that, I think they’ll take up the challenge. I know they have great pride and will not only want to end this season on a positive note but start the 2009 season well, too.”
“So those are a lot of the reasons why LSU made sense for us. It’s great to have Les (Miles). We think the world of Les and Kathy and their family and also the LSU family and its great administration. Certainly, we know Joe Alleva from his days at Duke and we think a lot of Joe and what he’s been able to bring to LSU. Although I didn’t talk directly to Les, Les, through Joe, expressed great interest in playing in our game and that was great for us that Les would have that kind of feeling that he would want to play in our game with his team.”
Inviting LSU to the Chick-fil-A Bowl...
“As president of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, it is my pleasure to officially extend an invitation to the LSU Tigers to represent the Southeastern Conference against the Atlantic Coast Conference in the 41st Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31, on ESPN in the Georgia Dome.”
LSU ATHLETICS DIRECTOR JOE ALLEVA
Accepting the invitation...
“Thank you. On behalf of LSU, it is my extreme pleasure to accept the invitation and thank you all for coming down and being here today. Steve (Robinson), you know what really makes this a great and exciting bowl is Chick-fil-A and the great partnership you have with the bowl and the great company that you have. Thank you for all you do to make this happen.”
“It’s a great honor to go to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. It’s a great city and a great venue. It’s exciting. It’s a great opportunity for our team to end the year on a positive note. It’s a great opportunity for our fans to go and have a great time on New Year’s Eve in a great city. Our theme for the trip is to “Paint Atlanta Purple” and I sure hope our fans will do that. I know they will. They are the best fans in the country and I know they will support this team.”
“So far, we’ve sold a little over 11,000 tickets and I know our fans will step up and fill our allotment for this game. Thank you again for the invitation and the opportunity.”
LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES
“We have had great experiences at the Chick-fil-A Bowl. LSU has been there four times. We remember the ’05 and the hospitality was as good as any bowl as any bowl experience I’ve ever had. My kids, my family, our team looks forward to going back. We wanted the best and I told Joe Alleva that we wanted the highest ranked and best bowl. That was the Chick-fil-A and we are thrilled to be there. I have to be honest with you, our football team wants to play. Our football team is hungry. We are looking forward to getting back to the field and pursuing our eighth victory. It is going to be a great event and I know our guys are looking forward to going to Atlanta. Atlanta is a favorite city of ours. We recruit that state well and there are a lot of friends of LSU and supporters of our program in and around that city. I also hope our fans come out. Georgia Tech is at a home venue. Down the street, they have a great school and great opportunity to fill that stadium. I want our guys to buy the tickets and see if our fan base might show strongly. We understand that Georgia Tech is a very quality football team, 9-3. Paul Johnson does a great job there. They are very familiar with an option offense. He runs option, he runs option and he runs option. They do it extremely well and are disciplined on the defensive side. I think it is going to be a great challenge for our defense. Our defense is looking forward to getting back on the field. Thanks and it’s just what we wanted.”
On going to the Chick-fil-A bowl...
“Our football team really expects to pursue excellence. I have to be honest with you, we watched the SEC Championship Game and we have been there two of the last four years. We want to be there. That is the direction of the program and that is where we want to be, so we are looking for the next best and that opportunity is this bowl game. We look forward to getting back on track and victory and enjoying the back end of the season.”
On Georgia Tech’s offense running option ...
“You have to be disciplined when you play them. There has to be relentless effort to pursue it. Let’s not forget (Georgia Tech’s) defense. They are very talented up front with two big, strong defensive ends and a defense that is ranked about 32nd in the top division in the NCAA rankings. We understand that this will be a great test. This is what we need. We need to play a really good football team and we are fortunate to have that opportunity.”
On if Georgia Tech’s offense will cause LSU to prepare in a different manner ...
“I think our team understands the direction and the very specific preparations that when it comes to this offense, it will require a different practice schedule. Frankly, we will seldom be in a third down and long and have a nice pass rush in the quarterbacks face. They don’t quite throw it that often. It is going to be gearing ourselves toward our opponent. It will be a great, new challenge to be honest with you. There isn’t anyone in our program that doesn’t understand where we want to be. You don’t have to enlighten anyone, there is no re-gear. It’s more like we ‘We understand. Let’s get it going.’ The opportunity is right here.”
On if practice will focus on developing the younger players ...
“First and foremost, we want to get our health back. We are going to take our first practice on the upcoming Sunday. There will be a part of each practice donated to some of the young guys as they continue to get better, but our main focus will be on our opponent. The best thing we can do for this football team is have a great experience in Atlanta and play well.”
RUNNING BACK CHARLES SCOTT
On what the team’s mindset was after a tough four-game stretch...
“I think we lost our focus a little bit (in the Troy game), but once we realized that they were for real and that they came to beat us, we turned it on and won the game. In the other games, we came out with a lack of focus, and we tried to turn it on, but it was too late. The main thing we have to worry about for the bowl game is focus.”
On what he expects out of this team in the next few weeks...
“I think this team was great at times, and I think we can be great all of the time. We’ve just got to improve our consistency. I think that’s the biggest improvement we’re trying to make right now.”
On if this is a redemption game...
“We’re really challenging our pride. We have a lot of pride around here, so we would love to go out with a win. We want this last game to be a win.”
On finally having some time off from football...
“It’s crazy because we play such a long season that it feels like we never get any time off, but when we do get some time off, we don’t really know what to do with ourselves. You find yourself actually going over to the Football Operations Building and doing extra stuff. We want to get back on the field and play, especially after the Arkansas game. We want to play because we still have that feeling in our guts after that loss.”
On what the defense will face with Georgia Tech’s option offense...
“They have a great rushing attack, but I think our seven guys upfront are pretty good too. As long as we prepare, keep our minds right, come into the game focused on our assignments and be disciplined, I think we’ll have a pretty good battle.”
TIGHT END RICHARD DICKSON
On the season...
“Everybody wants to go undefeated, but our conference is as good as any in the country. We played some great teams. It’s hard to go undefeated, and it’s hard to only lose one or two games. We’re a good team. Georgia Tech is a great team. They’ve proven themselves. They are running the ball great. Their defense is good, and we really want to go out there, give them our best and come out with a win.”
On playing the Yellow Jackets in their home city...
“It’s a great opportunity. They (Georgia Tech) get to play at home, We know what that’s like. We’ve played two times in New Orleans (Sugar Bowl and BCS National Championship game). We’ve gone against teams that have always been trying to beat us, and we’ve come out with big wins too. It’s something that we’re kind of used to. We play in big-time environments just about every Saturday. We go up against Florida, Alabama, Auburn and all sorts of hostile environments. It’s something we really thrive on. We want to go out there and play the best. You want to go out there and prove yourself and show everybody what you can do.”
On what the defense will face with Georgia Tech’s option offense...
“I ran Georgia Tech’s type of offense in high school, and it’s a tough offense. We’ve got great guys on defense. We’ve got great speed and some of the greatest defensive linemen in college football. I think they’re going to do great. We’ve got three weeks to prepare for it, and it should be fun for us.”