Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the UCLA football team will travel to San Diego for a postseason meeting with No. 18 NC State in the Holiday Bowl.
This will be the first meeting between the two programs since the Bruins won the two games against the Wolfpack in as many seasons (1959-60) in Los Angeles.
It will be the first football game played at Petco Park on Dec. 28 at 5 p.m. PT on Fox.
The Bruins finished in a tie for second in the Pac-12 South and will compete in a bowl game for the first time since 2017.
Coach Chip Kelly and the Bruins got an early jump on their bowl game preparation, despite not knowing who his opponent would be, with the anticipation of playing a game in late December.
“We literally just found out when you found out,” Kelly said during a virtual press conference. “We didn’t know who we were playing or even what bowl game we were going to.”
He mentioned that he was in a meeting with a recruit when he got a text message with confirmation about playing in the Holiday Bowl against the Wolfpack.
“I think Dave Doeren is one heck of a football coach,” Kelly said. “I know their record and that they beat Clemson and lost close games against Miami and Wake Forest but we have not looked at any film or tell you anything more detailed than that.”
The Bruins will have more than 20 days to prepare for the Wolfpack.
Kelly previously coached in the Holiday Bowl back in 2008 as an assistant coach with Oregon, who beat Oklahoma State 42-31.
It will be the first bowl game appearance for most of the Bruins’ roster, including Thompson-Robinson, defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia, receiver Kyle Philips, who all joined the program as members of the 2018 recruiting class for Chip Kelly’s first year.
Thompson-Robinson led the Bruins’ offense, which led the conference with 36.7 points per game this season. He’s also second in the conference with 21 touchdowns passes.
Philips, a San Diego native, is the Pac-12’s touchdown receptions leader with 10.
The Wolfpack have won four of their last five games and finished second in the ACC Atlantic division.
“We could not have asked for a more exciting matchup for the SDCCU Holiday Bowl’s first game in Petco Park,” said Mark Neville, CEO of the Holiday Bowl, in a press release. “Fans can expect plenty of fireworks on and off the field December 28 and an experience that is second to none.”
More to come on this story.