NC State and Vanderbilt will meet in the Independence Bowl on December 26th at five o’clock. Both teams ended the season on positive notes as State defeated UNC and Vandy beat Tennessee. What do you need to know before kickoff?
How to watch:
Time: 5 o’clock
Location: Shreveport, LA
Online: Watch ESPN
Battle of strengths:
NC State comes into the game with one of the stoutest run defenses in all the land, they ranked 5th nationally allowing just 104.7 yards per game. Vanderbilt’s offense called run plays 114 more times than passing plays. In Vandy’s last two games they scored a total of 7 touchdowns by the way of the ground attack. NC State only allowed 16 rushing touchdowns all season, if they can plug up Vanderbilt’s rushing attack they should be able to win.
Zach Cunningham LB #41:
Vanderbilt has one of the best players in college football at the middle linebacker position. Cunningham not only has the intangibles but he also has the numbers as he tallied 119 tackles (16.5 for a loss) on the season. NC State will have to get a hat on #41 if they want to have any success on offense. Cunningham used to be a sleeper; however, he is now projected as a top 10 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Vanderbilt let up their fair share of yards this season, but they did not give up a lot of points. Teams only scored 22.6 PPG on them this season, good enough to be ranked 27th nationally. In fact, Vanderbilt was even better at keeping teams from scoring inside the red-zone. Teams only scored touchdowns 45.5% of the time when getting it inside the 25. NC State will have to find a way to punch it in for six opposed to 3. Coach Doeren will probably need to use some play-action since Vandy will be prepared to take away the ground attack.
SEC vs ACC:
SEC has been the gold standard for a football conference for quite a while; however, the ACC has a chance to prove that they are right there with them. This bowl season will feature four bowl games that pit the SEC vs ACC. Can NC State notch a win for the ACC come the 26th?