The UCLA Bruins are headed to the Holiday Bowl
December 9, 2021
The UCLA Bruins formally accepted an invitation to play in The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl against the No. 18 ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The game is set to take place on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, at Petco Park in San Diego. It will be UCLA's second appearance in this bowl game which will be nationally televised on FOX at 5:00 p.m. PST.
This year will mark the first time an ACC team has ever played in the Holiday Bowl. The 2020 game was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2019 game was between Iowa and USC, which was won by the Iowa Hawkeyes, 49-20. The Bruins (8-4) will square off against Wolfpack (9-3) for the third time ever. The previous two matches were won by the Bruins, in 1959 and in 1960.
The highlight victory this season for the Wolfpack was 27-21 win over 9th ranked Clemson at home. Offensively, the Wolfpack is led by quarterback Devin Leary, who completed 65.7% of his passes for 3,433 yards, throwing 35 touchdown passes with just five interceptions. The Wolfpack averaged 33.1 points per game, which was 6th in the ACC and 31st in the nation.
The Bruins averaged 36.5 points per game, which led the Pac-12. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for 2,409 yards this season, completing 62.2% of his passes with 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Thompson-Robinson is a dual threat quarterback, as he also had 609 yards rushing with nine rushing touchdowns.
This will be UCLA's first bowl game under head coach Chip Kelly. The Bruins completed the regular season with three straight wins to go undefeated in the month of November. The 8-4 record was the best by the Bruins since 2015, with the Bruins highlight wins coming over LSU of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Bruins also beat Stanford, Cal, and USC for the first time since 1998.
UCLA played Baylor in its other appearance in the Holiday Bowl in 2012. The Bruins, whose first bowl experience came in the 1943 Rose Bowl Game, will be making the program's 37th overall bowl appearance. They are 16-19-1 in bowl games. This game at the Holiday Bowl between the Bruins and the Wolfpack should be a shoot-out between two high-scoring offenses and should be entertaining.