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(St. Petersburg, FL) The Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl has announced that the University of Central Florida (UCF) from the American Athletic Conference and NC State from the Atlantic Coast Conference has each accepted an invitation to play in this year’s game. The seventh edition of the bowl game will be played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL., on Friday, Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. ET and air on ESPN.
“We’re excited about this matchup in the first year of our new conference agreements with The American and Atlantic Coast Conference,” said Brett Dulaney, Executive Director of the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. “UCF fans have provided great support for their team in their past trips to our game and we look forward to showcasing St. Petersburg as a premier bowl destination to the NC State fans. “
UCF (9-3, 7-1), which won its second consecutive American Athletic Conference Championship this season, is riding a four-game winning streak and has won eight of its last nine games. This will be the Knights third appearance at the bowl game. UCF’s last trip to St. Petersburg was in 2012 when future NFL first round pick Blake Bortles led them to a 38-17 win over Ball State.
“We had a wonderful experience in St. Petersburg in 2012, so we’re certainly excited to head back to the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl,” said UCF Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury. “Our team really enjoyed the activities surrounding the bowl and all the hospitality from everyone involved with the game and we appreciate the efforts of all involved to make it a first-class bowl game.”
“After a 9-3 season we are very happy to go to the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl,” added UCF Head Coach George O’Leary. “Obviously a bowl game is a great reward for the players, the program and the fanbase. We are very anxious to get to St. Petersburg and enjoy the bowl and its festivities.”
NC State (7-5, 3-5) will be playing in its 28th bowl game and 10th since 2000. This year’s game will be the Wolfpack’s first bowl played in the state of Florida since 2010 when they defeated West Virginia at the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.
“St. Petersburg is a beautiful, warm weather destination to play our bowl. Congratulations to our players and coaches,” said Wolfpack Director of Athletics Deborah A. Yow.
“We are both excited and thankful for the opportunity to play in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl,” said NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren, who has now coached bowl eligible teams 10 of the 13 years he’s been a full-time D1 coach. “We know that the NC State fan base will enjoy the opportunity to support their Wolfpack in a great city and I look forward to seeing a sea of red on game day! This is a great reward for our young team that has continued to improve over the course of the season, especially for the 12 current players from Florida who will be able to be home for the holidays.”
NC State and UCF have met twice, with each team claiming a victory on the road. UCF won the initial matchup at NC State 25-22 in 2007. The Wolfpack evened the all-time series with a 28-21 win at UCF in 2010.
The Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl is owned-and-operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, which manages 11 postseason bowl games.
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