Vols selected to play Purdue in Music City Bowl

Staff photo / Tennessee will play Purdue in the Music City Bowl later this month, marking the first Music City appearance for the Volunteers since their 38-24 defeat of Nebraska in Nashville in December 2016, which marked the final game for quarterback Josh Dobbs (11).

Tennessee's first football season under coach Josh Heupel has yielded some sweet music.

The Volunteers were invited Sunday afternoon to Nashville's Music City Bowl, where they will challenge Purdue out of the Big Ten Conference. The second matchup ever between the Vols and Boilermakers and the first since Purdue's 27-22 triumph in the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl will take place Dec. 30 inside Nissan Stadium (3 p.m. EST on ESPN).

"It's a great opportunity for us to put the finishing touches on the positive momentum we have created over our first 11 months," Heupel said through a university release. "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."

While Tennessee went 7-5 overall and 4-4 in Southeastern Conference play, Purdue posted an 8-4 record that included a 6-3 league mark. The Boilermakers notched two double-digit victories over top-three opponents, whipping No. 2 Iowa 24-7 on Oct. 16 and stunning No. 3 Michigan State 40-29 on Nov. 6.

Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm is 27-29 in five seasons, with the eight regular-season wins this year marking the most for the program since 2006. Brohm was linked by media reports to Tennessee's coaching search after the 2017 season and has not denied that discussions took place, but how substantive those talks became remains unknown.

Tennessee is 1-1 in Music City Bowls, losing to North Carolina 30-27 in double overtime in 2010 and defeating Nebraska 38-24 in 2016. The former was the only postseason appearance of the Derek Dooley era, while the latter marked the third and final bowl venture of the Butch Jones era.

The Boilermakers played in the 2018 Music City Bowl, losing 63-14 to Auburn in a game that was 56-7 at halftime.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.