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December 6, 2009Texas A&M's goal of making a postseason bowl was officially achieved Sunday as the Aggies accepted an invitation to play in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., that will be played Monday, Dec. 28 at 4 p.m. at Independence Stadium. The game will be televised by ESPN2.
The Aggies (6-6) will face Georgia (7-5) which finished tied for second in the SEC East after a disappointing season in which the Bulldogs started the season ranked No. 13 in the AP poll.
"I am proud of our squad. We have a great group of seniors. This is a very unselfish group that took in the younger players and helped in their development which in turn helped us reach a bowl game," said A&M head coach Mike Sherman through a press release. "I know Georgia is a quality SEC team and they will be well coached. I have never participated in the Independence Bowl, but I am certain it will be a great experience for our program."
The Aggies are coming off a tough 49-39 loss to No. 2 Texas in the annual Thanksgiving rivalry game at Kyle Field while Georgia heads to Shreveport after an upset 30-24 win over ACC champions Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
The last time A&M faced Georgia was in 1980 when Bulldog freshman running back Herschel Walker leading Georgia to a 42-0 win over the Aggies on the way to a national championship. Overall the Aggies leads the series, 3-1, which includes former head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's first victory as A&M coach with a 6-0 win over Georgia in Athens.
The bowl will be A&M's 31st bowl appearance in which the Aggies have a 13-17 postseason record. It is the second time the Aggies will face Georgia in a bowl with the first being a 40-20 victory in the 1950 Presidential Bowl played in College Park, Md.
"I'm excited and this should be a fun experience getting to play an SEC team the caliber of Georgia," said A&M senior safety Jordan Pugh. "It's hard to believe these four years are coming to a close. It would be very special for this group of seniors - we have seen some ups and downs; to go out with a bowl victory against a very good Georgia team."
The Bulldogs are going through their own amount of turmoil heading into the bowl game with the Aggies. Georgia head coach Mark Richt released three defensive coaches from his staff - defensive coordinator and secondary coach Willie Martinez, defensive ends coach Jon Fabris and defensive co-coordinator and linebackers coach John Jancek - and all three have declined to coach in the bowl game.
Richt will coach the defense along with defensive line coach Rodney Garner and graduate assistants Todd Hartley and Mitch Doolittle.
"Despite the situation, Willie, John and Jon are all outstanding men and outstanding coaches. They have all accomplished some great things during their tenures at Georgia. Willie and Jon were part of all three of our SEC East division titles and two SEC championships. John was part of our 2005 SEC title. I cannot wish them anything but the very best."
The five losses for Georgia in 2009 are the most loses in any one season under Richt.