Gator Bowl: North Carolina State challenges No. 19 Texas A&M

Jimbo Fisher has North Carolina State on his radar once more.

The first-year head coach at Texas A&M has a date with a former Atlantic Coast Conference rival when the groups meet in Monday night time’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

There’s definitely a familiarity for this sport, which would be the first soccer assembly between the colleges.

“They know us, too, so I wouldn’t say that’s an advantage,” N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren stated of connections between the teaching staffs. “Probably both of us looking at what we do different from what we used to do.”

N.C. State (10-3) is attempting to succeed in the 10-win mark for the second time in class historical past. No. 21 Texas A&M (8-4) is aiming to construct off some late-season momentum.

Then teaching at Florida State, Fisher’s group misplaced at house in 2017 to N.C. State, so Fisher is conscious of what he is coping with.

“Dave has done as good a job as anybody in the country,” Fisher stated. “He has taken that program and risen it up.”

N.C. State might be lacking a few key gamers who’ve opted to show professional upfront of the bowl, however the Wolfpack has senior quarterback Ryan Finley to steer the offense.

“Ryan is playing,” Doeren stated. “He’s excited.”

Finley, who’s listed amongst NFL Draft prospects, has accomplished 67.9 p.c of his passes, throwing for 3,789 yards. That consists of 24 landing tosses and 9 interceptions.

“I think he’s even better [than past years],” Fisher stated. “Overall game command. They put a lot on him.”

The Aggies have firepower, too. Across the final 4 video games, Texas A&M operating again Trayveon Williams averaged 175 dashing yards per sport.

Texas A&M arrives on a three-game profitable streak. That consists of the regular-season finale that resulted in a 74-72 seven-overtime victory towards LSU on Nov. 24.

“One of the epic games in the history of college football,” Fisher stated.

Fisher, although, had one other particular second alongside the sidelines in a earlier Gator Bowl. That’s when he was an assistant coach at Florida State for legendary coach Bobby Bowden’s closing sport, a victory towards West Virginia on Jan. 1, 2010.

“It was a game I’ll never forget and I was so happy to be a part of,” Fisher stated.

Texas A&M has a sure Gator Bowl background as properly in its lone earlier look within the occasion. In 1957, coach Paul “Bear” Bryant was in his final sport with the Aggies, who misplaced to Tennessee, earlier than shifting to Alabama.

This 12 months, Texas A&M is 5-4 towards different groups collaborating in bowls.

N.C. State’s closing 5 video games of the common season got here towards groups with dropping information (although Wake Forest, which topped the Wolfpack, ended up 7-6).

The Aggies misplaced final 12 months to Wake Forest within the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.

The Wolfpack is attempting to succeed in a double-figure win whole for the second time in class historical past. The different time additionally got here in its final go to to the Gator Bowl, capping the 2002 season by defeating Notre Dame for a school-record 11th victory. The Wolfpack misplaced in its different two Gator Bowl appearances.

N.C. State receiver Kelvin Harmon, who racked up a team-best 1,186 receiving yards this 12 months, and linebacker Germaine Pratt, the group’s main tackler, are skipping the sport. N.C. State’s offense, although, has receiver Jakobi Meyers, who made a team-high 89 receptions in 11 video games.

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