NC State accepts bid to Independence Bowl against Vanderbilt

Wolfpack to play in Shreveport on day after Christmas following 6-6 campaign

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
North Carolina safety Donnie Miles (15) tackles N.C. State running back Nyheim Hines (7) during the first half of the college rivalry game at Kenan Stadium Friday

Following a season-ending win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC State sealed bowl eligibility despite a difficult end to the year. On Sunday, the Wolfpack found out it would travel to Shreveport, La. to play in the Independence Bowl against Vanderbilt.The Commodores put together a similar season to the Wolfpack, finishing at .500 in the SEC East Division. Derek Mason’s club shocked the conference with a road win over Georgia and home triumphs over Ole Miss and Tennessee to close out the season.Vandy’s makeup is also remarkably similar to NC State, with a veteran running back leading the way for the offense. Ralph Webb, a 5-foot-10, 202-pound tailback, has seven games with 100 yards or more. He’s also totaled 12 touchdowns on the year and crossed the 1,100-rushing yard threshold for the second straight season.Let’s just say Matt Dayes vs. Webb should be fun to watch for fans, but tough on the opposing defenses.The game will be played in Independence Stadium at 5 p.m. ACC teams are 2-4-1 in the Indy Bowl while SEC teams are 14-3. However, Virginia Tech won the game last year in a shootout, 55-52, to put the ACC back in the win column.NC State’s most recent game against Vanderbilt came in 2012 when the two teams faced off in the Music City Bowl. That game was coached by Dana Bible after Tom O’Brien was fired as NC State’s head coach. Dave Doeren, who had already been hired, watched from the sidelines as Vandy easily dismissed the Pack, 38-24.In order for the Pack to exact some revenge, it will need to score against the 27th-ranked scoring defense in the country. And with so much pressure applied to ACC and SEC schools when the two face off, coming away with a victory over the rival conference would be a memorable one for the program after a tumultuous season.