NC State, Vanderbilt meet in Independence Bowl
Vanderbilt (6-6, SEC) vs. North Carolina State (6-6, ACC), 5 p.m. EST (ESPN2).
Line: N.C. State by 5+.
Series Record: Vanderbilt leads 2-0.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Vanderbilt wants to keep momentum from an impressive late-season surge that included victories over Mississippi and Tennessee. N.C. State is in a similar position after an upset win in the regular-season finale over rival North Carolina.
N.C. State's DE Bradley Chubb vs. Vanderbilt's improved offense: The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Chubb leads the nation with 21 tackles for a loss, including 9+ sacks. Vanderbilt's offense exploded for 83 points over its final two games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
N.C. State: RB Matt Dayes. The 5-foot-10, 203-pound senior has 1,119 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns this season. He has run for at least 100 yards eight times.
Vanderbilt: LB Zach Cunningham. The first-team AP All-American leads the SEC with 119 tackles and is second with 16+ tackles for a loss.
FACTS & FIGURES
Dayes is the first player at N.C. State since 2002 to run for at least 1,000 yards in a season. ... N.C. State leads the ACC in rushing defense this season, giving up just 104.7 yards per game. ... This is N.C. State's 30th postseason appearance, including its 12th since 2000. The Wolfpack has a 15-13-1 record in the postseason. ... Vanderbilt junior Ralph Webb has 3,231 yards rushing in his career, which is a school record. He has 1,172 yards rushing this season and needs 22 more against N.C. State to break Zac Stacy's single-season school record. ... The Commodores are playing in their eighth bowl game in school history. They have a 4-2-1 record coming into the Independence Bowl.
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-Top25