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December 4, 2011
Chapel Hill, N.C. ------ The University of North Carolina will make its fourth consecutive bowl appearance on Monday, Dec. 26, when the Tar Heels take on the University of Missouri in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.
Fred Sexton Jr., chairman of the bowl selection committee, extended the invitation to Carolina on Sunday evening.
Kickoff for the game is set for 5 p.m. ET from Independence Stadium and it will be nationally televised by ESPN2.
Carolina fans are encouraged to purchase bowl tickets from the UNC allotment on TarHeelBlue.com beginning this evening. Ticket prices begin at $37.
Fans that are unable to make the trip to Shreveport, but still want to support the Carolina football team, are encouraged to purchase tickets and donate them to active U.S. military personnel in the Shreveport area.
"The team and the coaching staff are to be congratulated for making a fourth consecutive bowl game and our first Independence Bowl," said UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham. "We look forward to representing the ACC in the matchup with Missouri and competing for our eighth win of the season."
"I'm excited for our players, especially this group of seniors, to advance to a bowl game for the fourth straight season," said head coach Everett Withers.
"Despite some challenging circumstances, this team continued to work hard and prepare each week for the next game. We now have a chance to win eight games for the fourth-straight year and win our second-consecutive bowl game."
The AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, the nation's 11th-oldest bowl game, is celebrating its 36th anniversary this year.
The I-Bowl is the only game being played on Dec. 26, marking the fourth year in a row that it is the lone bowl of the day.
This is the first matchup between the ACC and Big 12 in I-Bowl history.
Carolina's four-game bowl streak is the school's longest since going to seven straight bowl games from 1992-98.
Offensively, the Tar Heels are led by a trio of outstanding offensive playmakers, including wide receiver Dwight Jones, tailback Giovani Bernard and quarterback Bryn Renner.
Bernard rushed for a UNC freshman record 1,222 yards and became the first Tar Heel since 1997 to run for more than 1,000 yards. He had 13 rushing touchdowns on the season and needs just one more to tie the UNC freshman record.
Jones established a school record with 79 receptions and has 11 touchdown catches, which is just one shy of the single-season record.
Renner, a sophomore in his first year as the starter, enters the bowl game tied for the school record with 23 touchdown passes.
Defensively, Carolina is 16th in the nation against the run and features a pair of first-team All-ACC performers in defensive Quinton Coples and linebacker Zach Brown.
Coples ranks fourth among active college players with 24 career sacks. Brown led the Tar Heels with 91tackles, including 11.5 for losses and 5.5 sacks.
Carolina and Missouri have met just twice on the gridiron with the Tigers taking both meetings in 1973 (27-14 in Chapel Hill) and 1976 (24-3 in Columbia).
UNC BOWL NOTES
---North Carolina is making its 29th appearance in a postseason bowl game and first in the Independence Bowl.
--- Carolina is 0-2 all-time against Missouri. The teams played a home-and-home series in 1973 and 1976. Carolina lost 27-14 in Chapel Hill in 1973 and fell 24-3 in Columbia in 1976.
--- The Tar Heels won their most recent bowl game with a memorable 30-27 double overtime victory vs. Tennessee in the Music City Bowl last year in Nashville, Tenn.
--- Carolina is 13-15 overall in bowl games.