ACC Bowl Preview #1

Dec. 16, 2010

December 28th – Champs Sports Bowl
NC State (8-4) vs. West Virginia (9-3), 6:30 p.m.

Tom O’Brien has NC State in a bowl game for the second time in four years as its head coach. The Wolfpack, who were regulars in Orlando during the 1970’s when the Tangerine Bowl hosted both Lou Holtz and Bo Rein Wolfpack teams, meet a West Virginia team that was in a scramble the final weeks of the regular season in Big East Conference play.

The Mountaineers have won two of their last three post-season trips, beating Oklahoma and North Carolina, before falling to Florida State in last year’s Gator Bowl (the final game for Bobby Bowden).

Bill Stewart, a former North Carolina assistant, has a team that has won four-straight games, but features the Big East’s top defensive unit. In fact, the Mountaineers are one of the top five defensive units in the country. DE Julian Miller and DE Bruce Irvin have combined for 20 sacks and helped limit opponents to just 12.75 points per game.

For NC State, its success might boil down to how well Russell Wilson plays at quarterback. The ‘Pack is first in the ACC in passing offense (281.6 per game), but ninth running the ball (125.0).

O’Brien’s team is steady against the run as well, holding opponents to 113.0 per game.

It’s the 10th meeting all-time between the two schools.

— Wes Durham

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