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Game matchup, events set for 2018 SDCCU Holiday Bowl in San Diego

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Posted at 11:14 AM, Dec 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-03 14:14:29-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A number of events will be held in the lead-up to the 41st annual Holiday Bowl football game on Dec. 31, which will feature Utah of the Pac-12 and Big Ten representative Northwestern.

Both teams will be playing in the game for the first time. Utah lost to Washington in the Pac-12 title game, while Northwestern fell to Ohio State in the Big Ten Conference championship game.

Prior to kickoff, there will be numerous events in San Diego to celebrate the SDCCU Holiday Bowl, including the famed Holiday Bowl Parade.

Here’s what’s planned before the Utes and Wildcats take the field:

  • National Funding Kickoff Luncheon (Dec. 30 at 11 a.m.; Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina)
  • Solar Turbines 5K (Dec. 31 at 9:45 a.m.; race starts on corner of Harbor Dr. and Ash St., finishes near Ruocco Park. CLICK HERE for course map)
  • Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade (Dec. 31 at 10 a.m.; starts on Harbor Dr., ends on Harbor Dr. and Pacific Highway near Seaport Village. CLICK HERE to view parade route)
  • Holiday Bowl VIP Tailgate Party (Dec. 31 at 1:30 p.m.; SDCCU Stadium, parking lot Section F-1)
  • Dexcom Near Year’s Eve Pregame Party (Dec. 31 at 1:30 p.m.; SDCCU Stadium concourse)

The game itself kicks off at 4 p.m.
The Holiday Bowl was originally planned by local officials to be a showcase for San Diego State, which was repeatedly shut out of the post-season despite posting sterling won-loss records during the 1970s under head coaches Don Coryell and Claude Gilbert. However, the Aztecs program hit the skids soon after the bowl started, and didn't make its first and only appearance until 1986.

The inaugural contest on Dec. 22, 1978, saw Navy defeat BYU 23-16. The Cougars put the bowl in the national consciousness two years later when they scored three touchdowns in the final minutes to upset highly regarded Southern Methodist 46-45 -- in an era when pinball scores weren't as common as today.

The Holiday Bowl has matched teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten since 2014.

City News Service contributed to this report