Gator Bowl

NC State (9-3) vs Texas A&M (8-4)

Date/Time: Monday, December 31st at 6:30 pm CT

Location: TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL

Bowl history

Originated: 1946

Conference tie-ins: SEC, Big 10, ACC

Last year’s result: Mississippi State defeated Louisville 31-27

NC State bowl history

NC State 17-13-1 all-time in their bowl history, including a 52-31 victory over Arizona State in last year’s Sun Bowl

The Wolfpack are appearing in their fourth Gator Bowl. They are 1-2 in their previous three appearances. They lost to Oklahoma in 1947 and Florida in 1992 while beating Notre Dame in 2003.

NC State has gone 9-4 in bowl games since 2000.

Texas A&M bowl history

The Aggies are 17-22 overall in their bowl history, including a 55-52 loss to Wake Forest in last season’s Belk Bowl.

This is the second Gator Bowl appearance for Texas A&M. The Bear Bryant led Aggies lost 3-0 to Tennessee in 1957.

Since joining the SEC, A&M is 3-3 in bowl games (lost three straight). During their Big 12 days, they only went 2-9 after going 12-10 as a member of the Southwest Conference.

Series history

The Gator Bowl will be the first ever matchup between these two programs.

Key player to watch for each team

NC State: Quarterback – Ryan Finley

Texas A&M: Linebacker – Otaro Alaka

Game Notes:

NC State

Unfortunately, two key players for NC State, wide receiver Kelvin Harmon along with linebacker Germaine Pratt are skipping the Gator Bowl. However, quarterback Ryan Finley, who passed for 3,789 yards with 24 touchdowns this season, is playing. Additionally, 1,000-yard receiver Jakobi Meyers along with running backs Reggie Gallaspy and Ricky Person still make this a dangerous offense to contend with. Pratt being out obviously significantly impacts a defense that only ranks 55th in the country to begin with.

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Texas A&M

Quarterback Kellen Mond and star running back Trayveon Williams lead the 19th ranked Texas A&M offense into this game. Wide receiver Kendrick Rogers adds a premier playmaker to a very balanced offensive attack. A key factor for A&M will be taking care of the football as they are among the nations worst teams in turnover margin. The defense is middle of the pack and will have to create turnovers in order to contend with the dangerous Wolfpack offense.

Final analysis

On paper, the Gator Bowl feels like a close matchup, pitting two very good offenses against two middle of the road defenses. NC State has enough offensive weapons to overcome the loss of Harmon, however, losing Pratt is a big deal for the defense. With all of that being said, this should still be a fun Gator Bowl.

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– David Creekmur covers College Football/Basketball, WNBA and College Women’s Sports for Full Press Coverage. Like and follow on Twitter

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