El Paso, TX - Virginia Tech and UCLA will meet for the first time ever on Tuesday, December 31 in the 80th edition of the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
"We could not be more excited to have UCLA and Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl," said Walker Crowson, Sun Bowl Association President. "Both schools have rich football traditions, outstanding coaches and passionate fan bases. Coach Jim Mora has re-established UCLA as a power in the Pac-12 and Coach Frank Beamer always has Virginia Tech in a position to compete for championships in the ACC.
"We think this will be one of the most competitive and attractive games in our long and proud history, and one befitting the 80th Hyundai Sun Bowl."
Virginia Tech, 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC, returns to the foundation of their 26-bowl game history (10-16). The Hokies’ first bowl appearance was in the 1947 Sun Bowl. Cincinnati defeated Virginia Tech 18-6 at Kidd Field. The Hokies will be making their first appearance at Sun Bowl Stadium.
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer said, "It’s great for our kids and fans to be able to visit a different part of the country."
The Hokies’ Hyundai Sun Bowl appearance is the 21st consecutive bowl appearance for Virginia Tech under Beamer (9-11). The Virginia Tech graduate is the winningest active coach in the FBS and the bowl streak is currently the longest, technically speaking, since the NCAA forced Florida State to vacate its Emerald Bowl win over UCLA in 2006. In reality, though, Florida State is making its 32nd straight postseason appearance this year.
UCLA, 9-3 overall and 6-3 in the PAC-12, will be making its fourth appearance in the Sun Bowl and are 2-1 in their previous trips. The Bruins’ last visit resulted in the program’s largest comeback win, defeating Northwestern 50-38 after trailing by 22. In its other Sun Bowl games, UCLA bowed 21-20 to Wisconsin in 2000, and the Bruins claimed a 6-3 victory over Illinois in 1991.
"We get to play on New Year’s Eve in a historic bowl game in front of a national audience on CBS," said UCLA head coach Jim Mora. "We get to go for our 10th win of the season against a tremendous ACC opponent in Virginia Tech. This is the kind of opportunity that our players and coaching staff live for, and we can’t wait to play this game."
The 2013 Sun Bowl will be the 33rd bowl appearance for the UCLA program (14-17-1) and the second under second-year head coach Mora (0-1).
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com give UCLA a 6.38-point advantage.