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?
NC State’s 2023 Football Schedule has Arrived!
NC State’s 2023 Football schedule was released yesterday.
- NC State will play all three in-state ACC rivals: UNC, Duke and Wake Forest
- NC State has two Friday night games back to back: UVA & Louisville
- NC State will play Quarterback Brennan Armstrong’s former team UVA on 9/22.
- NC State will host Notre Dame for the 2nd time ever, and will face a familiar face in former Wake Forest Quarterback Sam Hartman.
- In the first year without Divisions in the ACC, 5 of NC State’s 8 conference opponents will be teams that were in the Coastal Division last year: UVA, UNC, Miami, Duke, VT.
- The three former Atlantic Division opponents are: Clemson, Wake Forest and Louisville
NC State’s 2023 Football Recruiting Class has the Most 4-Star Players in the Dave Doeren Era
NC State’s 2023 football recruiting class is currently ranked 30th nationally by ON3, but I think you can make an argument that this could be Dave Doeren’s best class since he’s been in Raleigh.
Currently, 9 of the 18 players that make up the class (not including collegiate transfers) are 4-star prospects. You would think a class that included 9 4-star prospects would be ranked higher than 30th, but the reason it isn’t, is because different recruiting services rank players differently.
This is the most 4-star players that Doeren has ever had in a single class.
2023 – 9
2022 – 7
2021 – 8
2020 – 3
2019 – 7
2018 – 6
2017 – 4
2016 – 2
2015 – 5
2014 – 6
2013 – 2
4-Star Players in the Wolfpack’s 2023 Recruiting Class
Safety Daemon Fagan (247, ON3, Rivals & ESPN)
Tight End Javonte Vereen (ON3 & ESPN)
Safety Zack Myers (247 & Rivals)
Running Back Kendrick Raphael (ESPN & Rivals)
JUCO Defensive Lineman Jykeveous Hibbler (ESPN)
JUCO Safety Bishop Fitzgerald (ON3)
Offensive Lineman Darion Rivers (ON3)
Wide Receiver Kevin Concepcion (Rivals)
Cornerback Brandon Cisse (ON3)
Former NC State Defensive End Claude Larkins Commits to FIU
Former NC State Defensive End Claude Larkins has committed to play for Florida International University.
— FIU Football (@FIUFootball) January 17, 2023
On January 1st, Larkins made it official that he was entering the Transfer Portal.
Larkins only played 11 snaps in 1 game this season (Charleston Southern), and recorded 1 tackle. In 2021, he played 16 snaps in 1 game and recorded 2 tackles.
He was a 3-star recruit out of Hollywood, Florida, in the 2020 recruiting class, so heading to Miami puts him at around an hour from his hometown.
Larkins has three years of eligibility remaining.
NC State will Host Notre Dame for their 2023 Football Home Opener
It’s official. NC State’s football home opener will be against Notre Dame next Fall.
— NC State Football (@PackFootball) January 18, 2023
The Wolfpack defense will see a familiar face across the line of scrimmage throwing the pigskin. Former Wake Forest Quarterback Sam Hartman transferred to play for the Irish for his final year of eligibility.
This will mark the 4th time Hartman has faced NC State in his career.
Notre Dame finished the 2022 season ranked 18th in the AP Poll, with a 9-4 record.
This will mark the 4th time the Wolfpack have played the Irish, and the second time at home. The other time Notre Dame came to Raleigh, NC State won 10-3 in a hurricane. The Wolfpack have won 2 of their 3 games against the Irish.
The Wolfpack’s other non-conference opponents in 2023 will be at UCONN, and VMI and Marshall at home.