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Jackets to battle West Virginia in Gator Bowl

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia is headed to the Gator Bowl for the third time in four years, and the 13th-ranked Mountaineers will play Georgia Tech on Jan. 1 in Jacksonville, Fla.
    West Virginia (10-2) accepted the bid Sunday, hours after a thrilling 41-39 triple overtime victory over Rutgers.
    Georgia Tech (9-4) lost to Wake Forest 9-6 in Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference title game in Jacksonville.
    The bowl berths are the 10th straight for Georgia Tech and the fifth straight for West Virginia.
    Under bowl agreements with its conference, Georgia Tech wasn't supposed to drop any lower than the Gator. Bowl officials had hoped to avoid inviting the Yellow Jackets after a loss in the ACC title game but relented after a week of complaints and invited Georgia Tech back.
    “I think we’re very pleased,” said Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey. “The guys earned the right to go to that bowl.”
    Asked if his players will be excited to go to the non-BCS bowl, Gailey said, “They'll be excited by the time we get there. Today, they're not going be excited. They're hurting still. But they'll be excited as time goes on.”
    Georgia Tech finished the regular season with two straight losses, including 15-12 at Georgia on Nov. 25, and is looking for a 10-win season for the first time since 1998.
    “There’s some motivating factors,” Gailey said. “The seniors want to go out winning three out of four bowl games. There's lots of things. When it gets down to it, it's pride. You want to finish strong. Everyone does.”
    West Virginia is 0-2 against Tech. The teams met in 1953 and in the 1997 Carquest Bowl.
    Georgia Tech last appeared in the 2000 Gator Bowl against Miami and is making its seventh trip overall.

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