The final week of the calendar year is one of the biggest in the city of Orlando as it hosts two bowl games this week with Capital One Bowl on January 1stand tonight’s Champs Sports Bowl. North Carolina State makes its 2ndtrip to Orlando this season as they came in on September 11th to play UCF at Brighthouse Network Stadium, the Wolfpack won that game 28-21 to improve to 2-0 on the season at that point and was within a win away at Maryland at the end of the season away of reaching ACC Championship Game. They lost to Maryland which cost them that opportunity but it’s still been a big season for Wolfpack with good turnaround as they went 8-4 and are back at a bowl game after missing it in 2009 when they finished 5-7. The Wolfpack offense is led by Junior quarterback Russell Wilson who led the ACC and is 11thin the nation averaging 306.8 yards passing per game and threw 26 touchdown passes. “He works hard and prepares as hard as any player I’ve been around.” NC State Head Coach Tom O’Brien said about his quarterback. “He has great amnesia as a quarterback which you need, and just keeps grinding. He’s going to wear you out and wear you down.”
Wilson could be playing his final game for the Wolfpack to turn pro but it may not be to play pro football. Wilson plays Baseball and was drafted last summer in the 4thround of the Major League Baseball draft by the Colorado Rockies. Wilson batted 230 this past summer for the Rockies Class A Tri-City Dust Devils. Wilson will battle one of better defenses in the nation as the Mountaineers who finished the season 9-3 ranked 22nd in AP Poll and got a share of the big east title brings in a defense that ranks 3rdin the nation in total yards against allowing just an average of 251 yards per game. The Mountaineers have had some turmoil leading up to the game as Mountaineers Athletic Director Oliver Luck hired Dana Holgorsen who was the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State to same position for 2011 and then replace current West Virginia Head Coach Bill Stewart and take over the program in 2012. Stewart has made sure that his focus and the team focus is only on NC State. “My job is to make sure the staff and players are focused.” Stewart said who is 28-11 in 3 seasons at Morgantown. “We put that N.C.State film, on and our players have more than enough on their plate. They don’t have to worry about anything else.”
Both N.C.State and West Virginia hope that a win means a jump start to a big season in 2011 just like Wisconsin had this season after winning last season’s bowl game beating Miami.
News and Notes
- Tom O’Brien would get his 100thwin of his coaching career with a win over West Virginia
- West Virginia Senior Running Back Noel Devine needs 114 yards in the game to become the fourth player in program history with three 1,000 yard seasons in a career. It’s a homecoming for Devine who played High School football at North Fort Myers.
- 2ndyear in a row that a team that played against UCF in Orlando is playing in Champs Sports Bowl the same year as Miami did it last season as they won at UCF in October 2009 and then lost to Wisconsin in Bowl Game.
- You can catch the Champs Sports Bowl radio broadcast coverage right here at 6pm on ESPN 1080am following Tuck & O’Neil.
- Due to the cold weather, Alabama moved its Monday practice to UCF’s indoor Nicholson Field House
- UCF Football team is in Memphis as they left early Monday morning and attended the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies home game against the Toronto Raptors. The Knights competed against Georgia in a shooting contest in between the first and second quarter and what Knights fans hope is not an omen, lost 9-8 to the Georgia Bulldogs.
- Keep it here as we will have articles on Champs Sports, Liberty, Capital One and Orange Bowl here on ESPN1080.com in the next week as part of Bowl coverage.