The UCLA football team, ranked No. 17 by both AP and USA Today/Coaches, has been selected to play in the 2005 Vitalis Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX, it was announced by Sun Bowl Executive Director Bernie Olivas and UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero. The Bruins will face Northwestern of the Big Ten Conference. The game is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 30 at Sun Bowl Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12:15 p.m. MST (11:15 a.m. PST) and the game will be televised nationally by CBS for the 38th straight year.
The Vitalis Sun Bowl is the second-oldest bowl game in the country.
The Bruins finished the regular season with a record of 9-2 overall and placed third in the Pacific-10 Conference with a 6-2 mark. Northwestern enters the game with a record of 7-4 and was 5-3 in Big Ten play.
"Our team has worked hard to earn its record of 9-2 and a trip to the Sun Bowl is a great way to cap this successful season," said UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell. "We are looking forward to our trip and an exciting matchup against an explosive Northwestern squad."
"We are excited to be participating in the Sun Bowl," said Dan Guerrero, UCLA athletic director. "We have a great relationship with the representatives from the Sun Bowl Association, who are well known for their hospitality. We think the matchup with Northwestern will be an exciting one for fans throughout the nation to enjoy on CBS and we are looking forward to our trip to El Paso."
"What can you say about a tradition-rich program like UCLA? For one, it is led by a man like Karl Dorrell, who truly symbolizes the passion and the drive of a UCLA athlete," said Sun Bowl Association president Wayne Thornton. "When you look at where he has led the Bruins in three short years, it is a remarkable story. We are extremely excited to have a team the caliber of UCLA in the Vitalis Sun Bowl and look forward to providing them with some of that special El Paso hospitality."
"Once again, we have the possibility of one of the best bowl matchups in the country," said Bernie Olivas, Sun Bowl Association executive director. "With the offenses that both of these teams bring to El Paso, this could make for a very high-scoring and memorable game."
UCLA has played in the Vitalis Sun Bowl twice before, defeating Illinois, 6-3 in 1991, and losing to Wisconsin, 21-20, in 2000.
UCLA trails its series with Northwestern, 3-2, but the two schools have not played since a 12-7 Bruin victory in 1970 at the L.A. Coliseum.
A Wild West shootout could be on hand for the 72nd Annual Vitalis Sun Bowl, as two of the nation's premier offensive teams have accepted invitations to play on Dec. 30 at Noon in Sun Bowl Stadium.
Northwestern University (7-4) of the Big Ten Conference and UCLA (9-2) of the Pacific-10 Conference have officially accepted invitations to participate in this years Vitalis Sun Bowl, announced Sun Bowl Association President Wayne Thornton.
"We are really excited about the possibilities of this matchup," said Thornton. "It will be an offensive explosion. The real fireworks will come the day before New Year's, when Northwestern and UCLA tangle in El Paso."
The Northwestern Wildcats rank eighth in the nation in total offense. The Wildcats averaged 492.7 yards per game this season, including 296.8 yards per game through the air.
"We're extremely excited about the opportunity to play in a bowl game, and especially in El Paso at the Vitalis Sun Bowl," said Northwestern Athletic Director Mark Murphy. "Everyone who has had an affiliation with this bowl has raved about the Sun Bowl's organization and hospitality. Northwestern is proud to represent the Big Ten this year in one of the country's most tradition-rich bowls."
The No. 17 UCLA Bruins bring the nation's seventh highest scoring offense to El Paso, averaging 38.09 points per game. The Bruins also average 429 yards per game of total offense, with 281.9 yards coming through the air.
"We are excited to be participating in the Vitalis Sun Bowl," said UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero. "We have a great relationship with the representatives from the Sun Bowl Association, who are well known for their hospitality. We think the matchup with Northwestern will be an exciting one for fans throughout the nation to enjoy on CBS and we are looking forward to our trip to El Paso."
The 2005 Vitalis Sun Bowl will mark the sixth time these two teams have met, but the first since 1970. Northwestern holds a 3-2 advantage in the series, but the Bruins have won the last two meetings.
"Our team has worked hard to earn its record of 9-2 and a trip to the Vitalis Sun Bowl is a great way to cap this successful season," said UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell. "We are looking forward to our trip and an exciting matchup against an explosive Northwestern squad."
This will be Dorrell's first appearance as a player or a coach in the Vitalis Sun Bowl, but that cannot be said the same for Northwestern head coach Randy Walker.
"I'm excited for our football team, especially our group of seniors who have done such a tremendous job leading our football team this year," said Walker. "I've been to the Sun Bowl before (as an assistant coach with North Carolina in 1982) and know what an outstanding experience this will be for our team. We're also excited to play one of the top Pac-10 teams in UCLA."
This year will mark Northwestern's first-ever appearance in the Sun Bowl, while UCLA participated in the 1991 and 2000 Sun Bowls. Overall, this will be UCLA's 27th bowl appearance, while Northwestern will be making its sixth all-time bowl appearance.