The 48th Annual PlayStation Fiesta Bowl will feature a first-ever matchup, as No. 11 LSU and No. 8 UCF will face off for first time in history in a Tuesday, January 1, 2019, College Football Playoff New Year’s Six contest at State Farm Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. MST and will be broadcast live on ESPN. Tickets are available, starting at $95, by visiting Fiesta Bowl.org.
The Tigers will participate in the Fiesta Bowl for the first time in school history. LSU becomes the sixth Southeastern Conference school to compete in the Fiesta Bowl and the first since 2000 when Tennessee fell to Nebraska, 31-21. This will be UCF’s second time in the Fiesta Bowl, previously winning in 2014 when quarterback Blake Bortles led the Knights to a 52-42 victory over Baylor.
“One exciting aspect is having teams come to the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl who have never been here or haven’t been here in a long time. We have that, as these two programs play each other for the first time and LSU makes its first trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Of course, UCF has been on an impressive roll the last two seasons and in its first trip here, the Knights put on quite a show,” said Mike Nealy, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director. “The Fiesta Bowl has a great tradition of putting on a world-class college football bowl game with unique matchups and we are looking forward to continuing that when the Tigers and Knights come to town.”
After starting the season 5-1, the Tigers (9-3, 5-3) knocked off then-No. 2 Georgia 36-16 and surged up the rankings, securing a spot in the Top 10 ever since. LSU made history in its regular season finale, putting up the largest combined score in Division I college football before falling to Texas A&M 74-72 in seven overtimes.
Since 2016, Ed Orgeron has served as the head coach of the Tigers and previously coached in the Fiesta Bowl as a defensive line coach in 1997 while at Syracuse.
Owning the nation’s longest winning streak at 25 straight games, UCF (12-0, 9-0) enters the Fiesta Bowl for the second time in school history and returns to a New Year’s Six bowl game for the second consecutive year and third time in the last five seasons. The Knights continued their dominance in 2018, capping off a perfect regular season by beating Memphis, 56-41, to win the American Athletic Conference.
UCF first-year head coach Josh Heupel is no stranger to big games after winning a national championship during his career playing quarterback at Oklahoma. Heupel returns to the Valley for the fourth time, previously coaching in the Fiesta Bowl as a member of the Sooners coaching staff in 2011, 2008 and 2007.
The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl has served over three million college football fans, hosted 12 Heisman Trophy winners, seven national championships, one College Football Playoff Semifinal and has become an integral part of college football’s postseason. Some of the bowl’s most memorable games include the 1987 national championship matchup between Miami and Penn State; the Ohio State double-overtime thriller against Miami in 2003 to win the national title; and Boise State pulling off a series of trick plays to upset Oklahoma in 2007.
“It is a great honor to host two of the most prolific college football teams who bring with them extremely passionate fan groups,” said Steve Leach, Chairman of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. “We look forward to showing them all that Arizona has to offer, including the Fiesta Bowl hospitality that we are known for.”
During game week, fans are invited to attend the 2018 Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade, presented by Cheez-It in Central Phoenix. There are also two on-site pregame options at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl starting at 7:30 a.m. – the Fan Fest Pregame Party is free with a PlayStation Fiesta Bowl game ticket or the ticketed APS Stadium Club Pregame Party.