Match-Up: NC State (ACC) Vs. Mississippi State (SEC)
Spread: Mississippi State (-5.5)
Location: Bank Of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
When: Wednesday, December 30th, 3:30 PM Eastern
Where to Watch: ESPN
NC State Overview
There wasn’t much of a difference between Dan Doeren’s 2nd and 3rd year with the Wolf Pack, as they look to finish of the season at 8-5 for the 2nd straight year. After a 4-0 start, the Wolf Pack didn’t exactly impress during conference play. They did handle the weaker ACC teams with ease, but they were no match for teams like Clemson, Florida State, and UNC. Still, they managed to make all of the final scores look somewhat respectable. Mississippi State is interesting here; they’re the first team that’s top 25 caliber, but not top 10, that NC State will match up against this season.
Players to Watch
Jacoby Brissett (QB) – The dual threat senior will be the key for the Wolf Pack in this game. He threw for 2448 yards while completing 61.3% of his passes, along with 19 TDs to only 4 interceptions. He also rushed for 303 yards and 5 touchdowns. He’ll be looking to improve his draft stock, as he was recently invited to the Senior Bowl. He needs to play lights out to take out the Bulldogs.
Mike Rose (DE) – The Red Shirt Junior was an absolute force when it came to rushing the passer. He accounted for 10.5 sacks, 17 tackles for losses, and 7 QB hits. He also forced 2 fumbles and batted down a pass. Look for him to be in the backfield often in this game.
How NC State Can Win
STOP DAK PRESCOTT. Force the Bulldogs to run the ball. Their leading rusher has less than 600 yards, and he happens to be their quarterback. Don’t let Dak carve you up through the air.
Mississippi State Overview
The Bulldogs were incredibly difficult to figure out this season. After a 10-3 season, the Bulldogs were surrounded by some hype. After a 3-2 start, that hype had died down. After dominating 4 straight opponents, they were blown out by Alabama. Then they manage to beat Arkansas in one of the craziest shootouts of the season, before laying an egg against Ole Miss. They handled their weaker opponents with ease, but looked lost against legitimate contenders. We’ll learn a lot about both teams in this game.
Players to Watch
Dak Prescott (QB) – It’s the battle of the quarterbacks here. Prescott lead the Bulldogs to being the 16th best passing attack in the nation. He completed 66.9% of his passes and threw for 3413 yards, 25 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions. He also LED the team in rushing with 541 yards and 10 TDs. Prescott is a beast, and the senior should find himself on an NFL roster some day.
Richie Brown (LB) – The Junior linebacker was everywhere this season, whether it be on the field or on the stat sheet. 101 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 12 tackles for losses only begin to tell the story. He also managed 1 interception, 2 pass break ups and 3 quarterback hits. He’ll try to make Brissett uncomfortable here.
How Mississippi State Can Win
Beat NC State through the air. That might sound crazy, especially since NC State is ranked 22nd in the nation at stopping the pass, but don’t try to be cute here. Mississippi State just needs to do what they do best to win this game.
Final Score Prediction: Mississippi State Wins 28-24
Photo Credit: http://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/mississippi-state-football/msu-best-and-worst-prescott-somiss-2014/