Clemson will close its 2023 season with a trip to Jacksonville, Fla., and the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, to be played at noon Dec. 29. The Tigers will be appearing in the storied game for the 10th time, the most of any bowl in school history.

Clemson (8-4) has a nation-leading streak of 12 consecutive seasons with at least 1 postseason win, including conference championships, bowl games and national championship games. With the streak in mind, coach Dabo Swinney was excited to get the Gator Bowl invite Sunday afternoon.

“My first ever bowl game as a coach was the 1993 Gator Bowl as a graduate assistant at Alabama and my first ever bowl game as a head coach was the Gator Bowl with Clemson at the end of the 2008 season, so this selection feels very full circle,” Swinney said in a statement through Clemson. “This is a great bowl with a great history and rich tradition in an area I’m super familiar with. It’s an area I’ve recruited, and I’ve got a lot of love for Duval County, especially with the Jags having 3 of our guys there. We’re excited to get to work.”

A win would give Clemson a 5-game winning streak to carry into the offseason, including victories over ranked Notre Dame and North Carolina teams and archrival South Carolina.

To accomplish the feat, the Tigers will need to defeat Kentucky (7-5) out of the SEC. Here are 5 things to know about the Wildcats.

1. Ray Davis is a marvelous running back who can test the Clemson defense

Kentucky features a powerful run game, led by All-SEC running back Ray Davis, who gained 1,066 yards on the ground in 2023. Davis also had a career-high 317 yards receiving, and his 20 touchdowns led all SEC players. Kentucky, however, isn’t an especially effective rushing offense (94th nationally).

But when Kentucky has won big games this season, Davis has been at the center of things, as he was in the 38-31 rivalry win against then-No. 10 Louisville to close the regular season. In that game, Davis gained 127 yards rushing and receiving and scored 3 touchdowns.

2. Devin Leary has been “just OK” for Kentucky after leaving NC State

Devin Leary was among the biggest wins of the transfer portal, or so it seemed when the former ACC Player of the Year picked Kentucky as his transfer destination last offseason. Leary hasn’t been bad, but he never has approached the 3,433-yard, 35-touchdown passer he was for NC State during 2021. Leary has thrown a career-high 10 interceptions as a senior, but he also has passed for 23 touchdowns, including 3 in the win against Louisville.

3. Kentucky’s offensive line is “hit or miss”

The Wildcats don’t get a big push in the run game, as the numbers bear out. They rank 94th nationally in rushing offense and 88th in success rate running the football, and that’s despite the presence of Davis, among the nation’s best running backs. The Wildcats are good in pass protection, though, having surrendered just 54 pressures in 2023, a number that ranked 5th overall in the SEC. Leary was sacked 20 times (matching Clemson’s total number of sacks surrendered), but half those sacks came in 3 games (Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee). Otherwise, Kentucky has kept a largely clean pocket for its senior quarterback, even if he hasn’t always taken advantage. Clemson figures to have an advantage up front in this game and whether that results in sacks — and potential Leary mistakes — could be the difference in the game.

4. Kentucky’s secondary is the team’s most glaring weakness

Kentucky ranks 87th nationally in pass defense, and only 1 of its starting defensive backs, All-SEC corner Maxwell Hairston, grades out among the top 150 nationally, per Pro Football Focus. Hairston finished the regular season with 5 interceptions and 6 passes defended, but if Cade Klubnik and Clemson avoid throwing his way, Kentucky can be had in pass defense. In late-season losses to Alabama and South Carolina, Kentucky surrendered more than 250 yards per game and 5 touchdowns through the air, and Jack Plummer of Louisville added 242 yards and 2 touchdowns of his own in defeat.

5. Kentucky’s front 7 is as good as any Clemson has faced outside of FSU

Kentucky ranks 26th nationally in run defense and 23rd in success rate against the run, anchored by a twitchy, talented defensive front that features a pair of explosive edge players in Deone Walker and Trevin Wallace and the SEC’s surest tackler (No. 1 in SEC in tackling percentage) in linebacker D’Eryk Jackson. While Kentucky doesn’t generate much quarterback pressure, it is outstanding against the run, especially on the edge, where the Wildcats rank 7th nationally in success rate against defending perimeter runs, per Stats Solutions.

Clemson’s best games this season have come when the Tigers have established running backs Phil Mafah and Will Shipley, and the Wildcats are excellent at negating a team’s ability to get to the boundary in the run game. To win, Clemson will need to to attack Kentucky between the tackles, which means running right at Jackson, an All-SEC vacuum cleaner of a middle linebacker who will welcome the challenge.