Stanford and Pittsburgh touched down in El Paso Wednesday morning in advance of the 85th Hyundai Sun Bowl.
The Cardinal return to the Sun Bowl for the second time since 2016, while the Panthers come back to the Sun City for the first time since 2008.
Pitt and Stanford were both greeted by hundreds of fans, and a mariachi band, complete with dancers.
“This is my first time to El Paso the city and to the Sun Bowl itself, so I’m excited,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “I’ve had a lot of coaches tell me and speak highly of this bowl as one of the best in the country.”
Stanford head coach David Shaw has more experience with the Sun Bowl. It’s his third trip to the Borderland since 2009.
“They’re so excited to have us here,” Shaw said. “The things our guys do are a lot of fun. There’s things with the other team where we’re going to enjoy ourselves and have a great time. We’re going to compete in a few days, but right now, they’re college guys. They want to have a great time and this is such a great place to enjoy themselves.”
Shaw also gave an update on Cardinal running back Bryce Love, who announced last week that he wouldn’t play in the Sun Bowl. Love had surgery on an undisclosed injury last week and won’t even make the trip to El Paso to support his teammates because the Stanford medical team deemed it unsafe for him to travel.
“He really wanted to and then cooler heads prevailed and said it’s not good for him right now to recover,” Shaw said. “He needs to recover fully so we can get ready for the next stage of his life. He had a blast last time he was here, and was looking forward to coming back, but he’s not going to be able to make it.”
It’s the second time in three years a Stanford running back hasn’t played in the Sun Bowl. Christian McCaffrey sat out in 2016 to avoid an injury before the NFL Draft. Shaw emphasized that Love’s situation was different.
Cameron Scarlett will start in Love’s place. The 2018 Hyundai Sun Bowl kicks off at noon on New Year’s Eve.