LSU to Meet Miami in 2005 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
LSU Sports Interactive
BATON ROUGE -- LSU will get another crack at a top 10-ranked team as the 10th-ranked Tigers will face ninth-ranked Miami in the 38th annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, it was announced on Sunday.
The Tigers, champions of the Southeastern Conference Western Division, will take on the 9-2 Hurricanes at 6:30 p.m. CST on Friday, Dec. 30 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The game will be televised to a national audience by ESPN.
"We feel very fortunate to have a 10-win team that's ranked No. 10 in the country," said Leeman Bennett, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl chairman. "Coach Miles has done a terrific job in leading his team through a very tough SEC schedule, and we think his club will provide a tough opponent for Miami."
LSU brings a 10-2 mark into the Miami contest as the Tigers will look to become just the third team in school history to win at least 11 games in a season. LSU won a school record 13 games in 2003 on its way to the BCS National Championship. The Tigers were 11-0 during its national championship season in 1958.
The Tigers are 4-2 this year against teams ranked in the top 25, including a pair of wins over top 10-ranked teams.
The contest will mark the first meeting between the Tigers and the Hurricanes since 1988 when Miami posted a rain-soaked 44-3 win over LSU in Tiger Stadium. LSU holds an 8-3 all-time mark against Miami. LSU and Miami will meet in a bowl game for the first time.
"LSU is a team that has literally weathered the storm and still managed to have an incredible season, winning the West and playing for an SEC Championship," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl president. "With two top-10 teams, we're looking to have possibly the greatest Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl match-up ever."
The LSU-Miami matchup will be the only non-BCS game featuring a pair of top 10 teams. As a matter of fact, the LSU-Miami contest features teams with a higher combined ranking than that of the Nokia Sugar Bowl, which will also be played in Atlanta.
"We are excited to be able to play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against a quality opponent in Miami," LSU coach Les Miles said. "We look forward to putting this 21-member senior class back on the field with the opportunity to wrap up this season with a victory. The Georgia Dome is a tremendous venue and a great place to play. We look forward to going back to Atlanta and playing a better game this time around."
The Tigers will be making their fourth appearance in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and the first since a 28-14 win over Georgia Tech in 2000. LSU beat Florida State, 31-27, in the 1968 Peach Bowl and then posted a 10-7 victory over Clemson in the 1996 Peach Bowl.
LSU will also be appearing in a bowl game for the 37th time, which includes a school record streak of six consecutive seasons with a bowl trip. Since 2000, the Tigers have appeared in the Nokia Sugar Bowl twice, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl twice, the Cotton Bowl and the Capital One Bowl.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is the only guaranteed match-up of top-ranked teams from the ACC and SEC and is recognized as the most competitive bowl game in college football history. On Dec. 31, 2004, the Bowl's 37th annual game recorded its eighth straight sellout, highest team payout ($2.3 million per team), highest-ever television rating and its largest charitable and scholarship contribution ($410,286).
COMMENTS FROM LSU COACH LES MILES AT CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL ANNOUCNEMENT
HEAD COACH LES MILES
"Certainly, we are excited to be able to play in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl against a quality opponent. We look forward to putting this 21-member senior class back on the field with the opportunity of victory. It is a great place to play. We look forward to going back to play better."
On the senior class in the final games of their careers ...
"I think this senior class is the kind of senior class that really wants to play and give a better showing of themselves. I think they look forward to playing the best opponents. I don't see this senior class worrying about anything else than representing LSU and playing football."
On playing an opponent the caliber of Miami ...
"It's two Top 10 ranked teams, two teams that have won national championships, most recently. It's a great matchup and our guys look forward to it."
On JaMarcus Russell's injury status ...
"It appears to be a painful injury, not necessarily a long term issue. I don’t know that he will be ready for the bowl, but know that the injury is one that will not limit him in any way beyond which would be a naturally healing process. It's not operable. It's something that needs rest and rehabilitation but long term won't affect him in any way."
On the backup quarterback position if JaMarcus Russell is unable to play in the Peach Bowl ...
"We will have to see if JaMarcus is completely ruled out. I don't know if that is the case. If he is, we will look at our roster. I don't know if we want to play Ryan Perrilloux in that game, period. I think we have enough choices on our team to put a quarterback out there that will give us an opportunity to win. Skyler (Green) played quarterback in the last game, and his snaps averaged over 10 (yards a carry). We might have to give him a bigger piece of the pie. There are a number of guys on the roster who have experience at that position. Chris (Jackson) would certainly be of consideration."
Thoughts on the SEC Championship Game after reviewing the film ...
"I thought really there were some bright spots. It was a mistake prone game with a lot of strong individual performances within. We eliminate some of those mistakes and it is a completely different game. We can all see that. I know this, our guys are looking forward to playing well and playing a quality opponent. I haven't visited with them today. I will visit with them sometime tomorrow. I can tell you just having visited with our core leadership last night in an airport lobby, they are looking forward to bowl season."
On the status of Jessie Daniels ...
"He ended up hurting himself after the Arkansas game in a celebration. We really didn't think it would be that serious. The swelling persisted (on his ankle) and went down later in the week. We brought him out to the field and ran him. He just couldn't go. That is a guy that certainly would have gone if he had the opportunity. We look forward to getting him back."
On his history with Miami ...
"We (Michigan) played the Hurricanes with Jimmy Johnson as the head coach. We had a significant lead and they came roaring back to get us."
On getting younger players involved during bowl preparation ...
"There will always be a piece of bowl preparation that will reflect the young guys, the ability to bring the young guys along. We will work very strongly on game plan and really tailor the reps so that the guys that will be playing in the game will be doing the things we will count on them to do to win."
On the SEC breakdown in the bowls ...
"I am relatively certain that in the upcoming years, there will be a significant slot for the second place team in the SEC conference. I think that is right. You don't want to be hurt in your opportunities to participate in a bowl because you played for the championship. It just doesn't make any sense. I think the conference understands that, long before this game negotiated a slot for those teams."
OT ANDREW WHITWORTH
On playing Miami ...
"It is going to be a big matchup. Miami has been very successful the past years and so have we. This is definitely going to be exciting. You can make an argument that this is going to be one of the top three or four bowls of all of them matchup wise. I can't wait for the opportunity. It is an honor for us to get to play them. We are going to be excited about it and get a chance to do something about the loss we suffered yesterday."
On playing his final game ...
"It means a lot to us to go out there and play the way we need to play. This game will be very important to all of the guys on this team."
DT KYLE WILLIAMS
On playing Miami ...
"We get to play Miami, which is a national name. They are a very good football team from a very good conference. We are happy to do that. It is going to be a great game for us.
On a shot at redemption from the loss to Georgia ...
"I just think we played really bad yesterday. Three very key mistakes and that's 21 points right there. That would have put us back in the game. Georgia took advantage of it. You have to give them props to what they did. We are eager to get back out and practice, especially the guys who have played here for so long. We don't want to go out that way."
On drawing the Peach Bowl ...
"When you look at the conference this year, there are so many 10-win and eight-win teams that it is hard to really decipher where you are going to go. I think we have an opportunity to play the best team. I think we have the best matchup with us and Miami, so we are happy with our situation."