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NCAA Football: Mississippi State to play Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl

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Tampa, FL- The ReliaQuest Bowl will feature the Illinois Illini and No. 22 ranked Mississippi State facing off at noon eastern time on Monday, Jan. 2, in Tampa. It will be only the second meeting in history for the two teams that last played in 1980 and the first time since 1991 for Illinois to appear in the bowl.

“We are excited to extend an invitation to the University of Illinois and the Mississippi State University to play in this year’s ReliaQuest Bowl,” said ReliaQuest Bowl Chair Troy Atlas. “These are two quality teams that we expect will produce an exciting match-up fans are really going to enjoy. We look forward to hosting the teams and their fans and ensure they will have an amazing experience at the game and enjoying the dynamic Tampa Bay area.”

Mississippi State is mourning the loss of its head football coach, Mike Leach, who died on Dec. 12 at the age of 61 from complications of a heart condition. Leach was in his third season as the Bulldogs’ head coach.

The ReliaQuest Bowl, featuring teams from the Big Ten Conference and Southeastern Conference, is played in Raymond James Stadium. Over its 36-game history it has brought more than a million out of market visitors to the region while creating an estimated $1.1 billion in economic impact and distributing $164 million to universities.

It has also contributed more than $3 million to 160 charities since 2016. For information on the bowl go to www.ReliaQuestBowl.com or call 813-874-BOWL.

Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster online at www.ticketmaster.com. Priority membership seats are available directly through the ReliaQuest Bowl office at (813) 874-BOWL with details on the bowl web site at www.ReliaQuestbowl.com.

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