NASHVILLE, Tenn. – North Carolina State will represent the ACC against Vanderbilt from the SEC in the 15th annual Music City Bowl in Nashville on Monday, December 31 at 12 noon EST on ESPN.
"We are very excited about this year’s matchup between N.C. State and Vanderbilt," said Brad Lampley, Bowl chairman."These are two talented teams, and both have had some very impressive victories this season. With such a competitive game, followed by one of America’s best New Year’s Eve celebrations, there isn’t a better place to ring in the New Year than the Music City."
North Carolina State ended the regular season with a 7-5 record and 4-4 in the conference.
Senior quarterback Mike Glennon led the Wolfpack’s offensive attack, finishing first in the ACC in passing yards per game (304) and second in total offense (292 yards per game).
Senior safety Earl Wolff was named to first-team All-ACC, while redshirt senior offensive lineman R.J. Mattes and junior cornerback David Amerson were both named second-team All-ACC. The Wolfpack also had two honorable mentions on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball: Glennon, senior center Camden Wentz, redshirt junior defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop and senior safety Brandon Bishop.
The Pack defense ranked third in the ACC in scoring defense (24.6 points per game), second in interceptions (16) and second in sacks with 32 total sacks.
N.C. State is making its first appearance in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, its third straight bowl appearance, and the fourth in the last five seasons. N.C. State was the only ACC team to defeat conference champion Florida State this season. The Pack downed then-No. 3 FSU 17-16 in Raleigh in mid-October.
The Vanderbilt Commodores football team has sailed to an 8-4 record during the 2012 campaign, improving from last year’s record of 6-7.
Anchored by cornerbacks Trey Wilson and Andre Hal, linebacker Chase Garnham and defensive tackle Rob Lohr, the Commodores defense finished the regular season ranked among the top 20 in the nation in scoring defense, total defense and pass defense.
Vanderbilt’s offense, led by senior quarterback Jordan Rodgers and junior wide receiver Jordan Matthews, has been one of the Commodores' most productive in decades. Matthews found the endzone five times this year and led the SEC in receiving yards per game. The Commodores’ rushing attack ranked 53rd nationally with an average of 170.4 yards per game. In conference play, All-SEC running back and school career rushing leader Zac Stacy finished fifth in in the league with 1,034 rushing yards.
This is the second time Vanderbilt has played in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. In its 2008 visit, the Commodores downed Boston College 16-14 to end a 43-year bowl victory drought. This game, combined with last year's Liberty Bowl trip, mark the first back-to-back postseason appearances in program history as they come in James Franklin's first two seasons as head coach.
The 2012 game will mark the seventh consecutive Bowl matchup between the ACC and SEC in Music City. Last year, Mississippi State defeated Wake Forest 23-17 in the first-ever matchup between the two teams.
Vanderbilt is just 2-2-1 all-time in bowl games while N.C. State is 14-11-1, including a 5=1 record in its last six bowl trips. The Wolfpack was 2-1 in bowl games from 2007-2012 under Tom O'Brien who was fired after the season and replaced with Dave Doeren. In his only two seasons at Northern Illinois, Doeren compiled records of 23-4 overall and 17-1 vs. MAC schools, including two conference championship game wins. A 12-1 record this year led to to a berth in the Orange Bowl against Florida State.
Offensive coordinator Dana Bible was appointed interim head coach for the bowl game while Doeren will not coach either his old teasm or his new one in their respective bowls.
The Congrove Computer Rankings project Vanderbilt as a 7.16-point winner.