College Football Bowl Games San Diego
The Holiday Bowl, one of San Diego’s signature events, shifts to Petco Park this year. Photo credit: @HolidayBowl, via Facebook

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 has the third selection among Pac-12 Conference teams, with the Rose Bowl getting the conference champion and the Alamo Bowl receiving 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 have a team in 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 play in the game for the second time after losing to Baylor, 49-26, in the 2012 game.

The Bruins (8-4), unranked nationally, 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) was No. 18 in the Associated Press poll released Sunday, three spots up from the previous week.

UCLA has a three-game winning streak, while the Wolfpack has won four of its last five games.

In the last Holiday Bowl, in 2019, Iowa defeated USC 49-24, the final time the contest matched teams from the Pac-12 and the Big 10.

The bowl game had been played in Mission Valley since its inaugural edition in 1978 through 2019. to San Diego State University last year began construction on a new stadium and a west campus, leaving the event without a home.

City News Service