The UCLA Bruins have a chance to end their season with a win, facing the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday, December 31 in the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco. The 12:30 p.m. PST game, which will be held at AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, will be televised by ESPN.
The Bruins played in this game in 2006 when it was called The Emerald Bowl, losing to the Florida St. Seminoles. "We're thrilled to bring UCLA back to San Francisco," said Executive Director of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Gary Cavalli in a statement on Sunday. "The Bruins played in our 2006 game against Florida State, and we had a great experience with Dan Guerrero and the entire UCLA family. That 2006 game was a classic matchup of two premier programs that had never met before on the gridiron. It was also our first sellout, and we anticipate another big crowd at AT&T Park on New Year's Eve."
Guerrero played up the game's location, in San Francisco, as a major selling point of the game. "Not only will our 18 seniors have the chance to end their collegiate careers on a high note, but both our entire team and our travel party will have the opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds of one of America's greatest cities," Guerrero said on Sunday.
The game features a battle between two schools that fired their head coaches, with both Rick Neuheisel and Ron Zook now out of a job. UCLA offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will coach the team on an interim basis through the bowl game.
"On behalf of the UCLA coaching staff and players, I want to express our excitement over being offered an opportunity to continue our season in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl," said Johnson.""The next few weeks will offer all of us associated with the Bruin football team an opportunity to grow, both individually and collectively, as we prepare for the challenge on the field that is ahead of us. I am very familiar with the Bay Area and know all of us will enjoy our trip and the opportunity to compete again in a bowl game."
UCLA is 6-5 all-time against Illinois, and have won their last four meetings.
The 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will be played at 12:30 p.m. PST on December 31, 2011, at AT&T Park in San Francisco, and be televised by ESPN. For more news and information on Illinois football, be sure to read Hail to the Orange. To keep up with UCLA football, be sure to read Bruins Nation.