(News4usonline) – After enjoying a week of festivities, including a trip to SeaWorld, the UCLA Bruins ended their season in a thud as the team decided not to play their Holiday Bowl game against North Carolina State because of health and safety (Covid-19) protocols. That call reportedly was made only hours before kickoff on the day of the game.
“We are extremely grateful to the Holiday Bowl, students, fans, sponsors and the people of San Diego for their support this week,” UCLA Alice and Nahum Lainer Family Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond said in a released statement. “We are deeply disappointed for our young men in the football program that worked extremely hard for this opportunity. My heart goes out to them. The health and safety of our students will always be our North Star.”
The announced cancellation of the game left a foul impression on the Wolfpack.
“This is an incredibly frustrating outcome for our players and staff who worked so hard to put themselves in position to get a 10th win. The timing of the announcement in proximity to kickoff was very disappointing,” North Carolina State Athletics Director Boo Corrigan said in a released statement on Twitter.
The Bruins finished the regular season with an overall 8-4 record and a third-place showing in the Pac-12 Conference South Division, which was won by Utah. This is the best finish the Bruins have enjoyed under Kelly in the four years he has worked as the head football coach. His overall record at UCLA is 18-25.
At 9-3, North Carolina State was hoping to have the opportunity to possibly collect win No. 10. The ACC representative was denied that chance. At least for now. The university is still holding out hope to find a suitable opponent to replace the Bruins as an opponent. That may or may not happen, but they’re trying.
“The entire SDCCU Holiday Bowl family is heartbroken that we were not able to play the bowl game tonight,” read a statement that the Holiday Bowl put out. “We do not want to cancel the game officially until we have exhausted every opportunity to find a replacement team, and we are working closely with Boo Corrigan and his great athletics staff at NC State.”