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LSU draws UCF in Fiesta Bowl

LSU coach Ed Orgeron
SPORTS SCENE PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

BATON ROUGE – LSU’s 50th bowl appearance will come against undefeated and eighth-ranked UCF in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on January 1, 2019, the College Football Playoff Committee announced on Sunday.

Kickoff for the contest is set for noon CT from State Farm Stadium, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, in Glendale, Arizona. The game will be televised on ESPN.

LSU enters the contest ranked No. 11 in the nation and brings a 9-3 overall into what will be its first meeting with UCF. The Knights are 12-0 and bring a 25-game winning streak into the New Year’s Day game against LSU.

LSU will be making its 19th consecutive bowl appearance, the fourth-longest streak in college football. The Tigers have also won at least eight games for 19 consecutive years, which ties with Oklahoma for the longest current streak among Power 5 schools along with Oklahoma.

LSU has reached a bowl game every year since 2000 when the Tigers beat Georgia Tech, 28-14, in the Peach Bowl. Since then, LSU has claimed two national championships and won four Southeastern Conference titles.

“What an honor for our football team,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said on Sunday afternoon. “Our team deserved the very best reward at the end of the season that was possible. We feel that we got that with a chance to play in the Fiesta Bowl. What a prestigious matchup on New Year’s Day in a New Year’s Six Bowl against UCF.

“It’s a reward for our young men that worked very hard. I thought we had a good season. These guys started off unknown and had some very big wins throughout the season. This is a great reward for our football team, a very well-deserved New Year’s Day Six Bowl. It’s a great step for the Tigers.”

Against UCF, the Tigers will face a Knight squad that beat Memphis, 56-41, to claim the American Athletic title on Saturday. The Knights, who went 13-0 in 2017, haven’t lost a game since dropping a 31-13 decision to Arkansas State in the 2016 Cure Bowl.

Orgeron will be leading the Tigers to a bowl for the third time. The Tigers beat Louisville, 29-9, in the Citrus Bowl in 2017 and then followed that with a last-second loss to Notre Dame in last year’s Citrus Bowl.

Under Orgeron, the Tigers have compiled a 24-9 overall mark, which includes a 9-4 record in 2017 and a 6-2 mark in 2016 when Orgeron served as the interim coach.

Orgeron said the Tigers will return to bowl practice following final exams next week and will be excited about the opportunity to play in UCF in the Fiesta Bowl.

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