UCLA to face North Carolina State in Holiday Bowl

Sports

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – UCLA will face North Carolina State in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28, the first football game to be played at Petco Park, organizers announced Sunday.

The Holiday Bowl gets the third selection among Pac-12 Conference teams, with the Rose Bowl getting the conference champion and the Alamo Bowl getting the second choice. The Holiday Bowl is in a group with the Cheez-It Bowl and Gator Bowl that have the first picks among Atlantic Coast Conference teams following the New Year’s Six bowls.

This will be the first time an ACC team has played in the Holiday Bowl. Under an agreement announced in 2019, the ACC will supply a team for the game at least through 2025. The agreement was supposed to begin with the 2020 game, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

UCLA will playing in the game for the second time. The Bruins lost to Baylor, 49-26, in the 2012 game.

UCLA (8-4) will enter the Holiday Bowl on a three-game winning streak. The Bruins will be making their first bowl appearance since 2017 when they lost to Kansas State, 35-17, in the Cactus Bowl.

North Carolina State (9-3) has won four of its last five games. The Wolfpack were 18th in The Associated Press poll released Sunday, three spots higher than the previous week. UCLA is unranked.

The game will be played at Petco Park under an amendment to a joint agreement with the San Diego Padres approved by the City Council in July, overturning a previous ban on football at the downtown baseball stadium.

The Padres announced a partnership with the San Diego Bowl Game Association in July allowing the Holiday Bowl to be played at Petco Park for a minimum of the next five years, beginning this year, dependent on City Council approval.

The sale of SDCCU Stadium — where the Holiday Bowl had been played since its inaugural edition in 1978 through 2019 — to San Diego State University in 2020, and its demolition to make way for a west campus and Aztec Stadium, left the bowl game without a home.

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