2016 Independence Bowl, NC State vs. Vanderbilt Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

2016 Independence Bowl, NC State vs. Vanderbilt Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores


2016 Independence Bowl, NC State vs. Vanderbilt Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Camping World Independence Bowl Prediction, Vanderbilt vs. NC State Game Preview, History, Scores

Three reasons why you should watch the Camping World Independence Bowl between Vanderbilt (6-6) vs. NC State (6-6), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


Date: Monday, December 26th
Game Time: 5:00 pm
Venue: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
Network: ESPN2

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Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 26 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Camping World Independence Bowl

The last two Independence Bowls have been terrific. This hasn’t always been the case, with this a roaring dud of a bowl from 2008 to 2013. But last year, Virginia Tech got past Tulsa in a fun 55-52 firefight, and two years ago South Carolina slipped by Miami in a 24-21 battle. Vanderbilt and NC State are each just feisty enough to make this a fight.

Vanderbilt will be very, very fired up to be in a bowl game. It took a late-season surge and a great performance against Tennessee to get the swag bag, but the Commodores got it done. As a program, it’s been a proven fighter in the four bowl appearances since losing your 1982 Hall of Fame Bowl to Air Force, winning three of the last four it’s been in from 2008 to 2013. Effort won’t be an issue.

Enjoy the defense. Vanderbilt’s D hasn’t been quite as fantastic as it’s been in recent years, but it’s certainly been solid enough to get the team to a bowl game. NC State’s defensive front might just be the best the Commodore offense has faced this year – Florida included. While the Vandy offense exploded against Ole Miss and Tennessee, that might quickly reverse itself against a Pack D that’s fifth in the nation against the run.

Here’s Why NC State Will Win The Camping World Independence Bowl

The Wolfpack defensive front four. No Wolfpack defensive lineman finished on the All-ACC First or Second Team, but as a group, it’s one of the league’s most effective lines. Bradley Chubb was one of the ACC’s best pass rushers on one side, Darian Roseboro is one of the strongest on the other side, and the tackle combination of Justin Jones and B.J. Hill is terrific. Fifth in the nation against the run, nothing gets by this group.

Will Ryan Finley be on? Early in the season, the former Boise State quarterback was on fire, throwing nine touchdown passes and no picks in the first five games. Here’s the deal this year – NC State is 6-1 when he doesn’t throw an interception, and 0-5 when he does. Vanderbilt has only come up with five interceptions on the season, none in the last four games, and one in the last six. Giving Finley time will be a breeze considering …

The Commodores don’t have a pass rush. There just isn’t enough pressure into the backfield, although that changed a bit late in the season. Vandy has just 15 sacks on the year, but it cranked up nine in the last five games and five in the last two. The NC State offense has allowed a mere 17 sacks on the season.

Here’s Why Vanderbilt Will Win The Camping World Independence Bowl

Can the passing game really stay this hot? The Commodore passing attack made the world a worse place throughout last season and for most of the 2016 season. And then a funny thing happened on the way to another horrible passing year – Kyle Shurmur turned into Aaron Rodgers. Once the calendar turned to November, Shurmur caught fire with 221 yards or more in each of the final four games – after only throwing for over 200 yards once over the first eight games – and bombing Tennessee for 416 yards and two scores.

NC State, welcome to Zach Cunningham. Reuben Foster won the Butkus Award, but Vandy’s Cunningham was the best linebacker in college football. The junior cranked up 119 tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss, coming up with his magnum opus in the win over Georgia with 19 stops including the game-sealing tackle. This is his national showcase.

NC State can’t close. The red zone has one of the nation’s worst offenses inside the 20, coming up empty a whopping 12 times including at least once in nine games. How is Vanderbilt’s D inside the 20? It’s the best in college football, allowing offenses to score just 66% of the time, coming up with 15 stops.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Camping World Independence Bowl

This should be closer than the 2012 Music City Bowl. NC State was about to go through the transition with Dave Doeren going to take over the following season, and it showed when the Commodores and Wolfpack faced off four years ago. Vandy won 38-24. This year, be shocked if the final score is anywhere close to that high.

Don’t discount what it took to get here. NC State could’ve mailed it in after struggling late in the year losing five games in six before coming up with the performance it had to have against North Carolina to go bowling. Vanderbilt needed to come up with wins over Ole Miss and Tennessee, and the offense came up with two of its best performances in years. These two teams have fight.

Time of possession will matter. Both teams hold on to the ball for 32 minutes a game – they both need to control the clock and the tempo. Vanderbilt opened it up late in the season, but it’s brilliant at slowing things down to a dead stop. NC State uses Matthew Dayes to pound away to control the tempo and give Finley easy third down opportunities. The team that keeps the ball wins the game.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Camping World Independence Bowl?

Both defenses will rise up and take over. The Commodore offense will revert back to the pre-November form, but NC State won’t be able to move the ball much, either.

If it sounds like a dry bowl game, it won’t be – there just won’t be too many fireworks.

Vanderbilt does the grinding thing better, keeping the score low, the possessions to a minimum, and in the end, the Commodores will capitalize on all their chances, and the Wolfpack won’t.

Final Score

Vanderbilt 20, NC State 17


NC State -4, o/u: 44

ATS Confidence: 3
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0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 3
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0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

Get Tickets For The Camping World Independence Bowl

Independence Bowl History, Results

Dec. 26, 2015 Virginia Tech 55 Tulsa 52
Dec. 27, 2014 South Carolina 24 Miami 21
Dec. 31, 2013 Arizona 42 Boston College 19
Dec. 28, 2012 Ohio 45 Louisiana-Monroe 14
Dec. 26, 2011 Missouri 41 North Carolina 24
Dec. 27, 2010 Air Force 14 Georgia Tech 7
Dec. 28, 2009 Georgia 44 Texas A&M 20
Dec. 28, 2008 Louisiana Tech 17 Northern Illinois 10
Dec. 30, 2007 Alabama 30 Colorado 24
Dec. 28, 2006 Oklahoma State 34 Alabama 31
Dec. 30, 2005 Missouri 38 South Carolina 31
Dec. 28, 2004 Iowa State 17 Miami Univ. 13
Dec. 31, 2003 Arkansas 27 Missouri 14
Dec. 27, 2002 Mississippi 27 Nebraska 23
Dec. 27, 2001 Alabama 14 Iowa State 13
Dec. 31, 2000 Mississippi State 43 Texas A&M 41 (OT)
Dec. 31, 1999 Mississippi 27 Oklahoma 25
Dec. 31, 1998 Mississippi 35 Texas Tech 18
Dec. 28, 1997 LSU 27 Notre Dame 9
Dec. 31, 1996 Auburn 32 Army 29
Dec. 29, 1995 LSU 45 Michigan State 26
Dec. 28, 1994 Virginia 20 TCU 10
Dec. 31, 1993 Virginia Tech 45 Indiana 20
Dec. 31, 1992 Wake Forest 39 Oregon 35
Dec. 29, 1991 Georgia 24 Arkansas 15
Dec. 15, 1990 Louisiana Tech 34 Maryland 34
Dec. 16, 1989 Oregon 27 Tulsa 24
Dec. 23, 1988 Southern Miss 38 UTEP 18
Dec. 19, 1987 Washington 24 Tulane 12
Dec. 20, 1986 Mississippi 20 Texas Tech 17
Dec. 21, 1985 Minnesota 20 Clemson 13
Dec. 15, 1984 Air Force 23 Virginia Tech 7
Dec. 10, 1983 Air Force 9 Mississippi 3
Dec. 11, 1982 Wisconsin 14 Kansas State 3
Dec. 12, 1981 Texas A&M 33 Oklahoma State 16
Dec. 13, 1980 Southern Miss 16 McNeese State 14
Dec. 15, 1979 Syracuse 31 McNeese State 7
Dec. 16, 1978 East Carolina 35 Louisiana Tech 13
Dec. 17, 1977 Louisiana Tech 24 Louisville 14
Dec. 13, 1976 McNeese State 20 Tulsa 16

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