NC State football team arrives in San Diego for Holiday Bowl

Sports

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The NC State football team arrived in San Diego Thursday to begin a series of practices and activities leading up to facing UCLA in Tuesday’s 43rd annual Holiday Bowl, the first at Petco Park.

The arrival marked the first time many of the Wolfpack players were on the West Coast, according to coach Dave Doeren, who was born at the naval base on Coronado Island in 1971 as his father was stationed there.

“It’s pretty neat for me to get the chance to come back to where I was born and play in a bowl and to get to do it in a professional baseball stadium,” Doeren, who grew up in Kansas, told reporters Dec. 5, when the bowl matchup was announced.

“I’ve never played in a baseball stadium, so that’ll be a fun experience.”

There are no Californians on the North Carolina State roster, which primarily consists of players from North Carolina. The player raised closest to California is freshman backup quarterback Ben Finley, who is from Phoenix and whose older brother Ryan was the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback from 2016-18.

The Bruins are set to arrive Friday.

North Carolina State is scheduled to visit the San Diego Zoo Friday, then join UCLA at Sea World on Saturday and on a tour of the Navy assault ship USS Makin Island on Sunday.

“I’ve always enjoyed Sea World,” Doeren said. “I’ll definitely be taking that in.”

This will be the first time an Atlantic Coast Conference 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, but that was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

The San Diego 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, which was granted later in July, overturning a previous ban on football at the downtown baseball stadium.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Stadium Stories

More Stadium Stories

Most Popular Stories

Latest News

More News