It’s the NC State Wolfpack vs. Vanderbilt Commodores in our 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl free pick. The Wolfpack is a club that underachieved in 2016 and has something to prove in this bowl games. For the Commodores this is about continuing the good vibes created when this season they won four of their last six games.
The NC State Wolfpack (6-6 Overall, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended the season fourth in the ACC Atlantic Conference. They went 2-5 for their last seven, including losses to three top 25 teams and a 21-14 loss to Boston College. The Vanderbilt Commodores (6-6 Overall, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) were seventh in the SEC East. Vandy had some big wins at the end of the season, including one over #17 Tennessee 45-34.
NC State Wolfpack
The NC State Wolfpack are scoring on average 25.8 PPG. Sophomore QB Ryan Finley (60.2 COMP%, 15 TDs, 8 INTs) has three receivers on which he can count, including freshman Kelvin Harmon who has caught five touchdown passes. RB Matthew Dayes (240 ATT, 1,119 YDs, 4.7 AVG, 10 TDs) has a nose for the goal line. Jaylen Samuels is a dual threat. He has 31 carries for 180 yards and six TDs and 49 recpetions for 461 yards and four TDs.
The Wolfpack defense has some sound stats with 32 sacks, 82 TFL, 15 FF. DE Bradley Chubb is a major force on the D. He’s made 20.5 TFL and nine sacks. He could be a difference-maker. NC State is giving up 23.3 PPG. Other stats include 7 INTs, 43 PD, and an impressive 33 QB hurries.
Vandy sophomore QB Kyle Shurmur (56.2 COMP%, 9 TDs, 7 INTs) does not have impressive stats. What was impressive was the way he played in the Commodores last two games of the season, both of which they won. The team is averaging 23.6 PPG. RBs Kyle Webb and Khari Blasingame have combined for 21 TDs. Webb has over 1,100 yards on the ground.
On defense, the Commodores are offering up 22.6 PPG. They have made 15 sacks, created 66 TFL, and manufactured 12 FF. In addition, the D has 5 INTs, 23 QB hurries, and 54 PD. The defense is decent but not overwhelming.
2016 Camping World Independence Bowl Free Pick
In our 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl free pick, we think the aggressive Terrapin defense will overwhelm Commodore QB Kyle Shurmur. We’re going with NC State at -5.5.
The 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl will kickoff Monday, Dec. 26 at 5 p.m. ET from Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La. You can catch the game on ESPN2.