Arizona State vs. NC State: Sun Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Arizona State vs. NC State: Sun Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Teams & Conferences

Arizona State vs. NC State: Sun Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


Three reasons why you should watch the Hyundai Sun Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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Hyundai Sun Bowl
Arizona State (7-5) vs. NC State (8-4)

Broadcast

Date: Friday, December 29th
Game Time: 2:00 pm
Venue: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX
Network: CBS

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 
22 out of 39

2017-2018 Bowl Central: Schedules, Picks, Love
CFN Expert Consensus Confidence Picks

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Hyundai Sun Bowl

How dysfunctional is this? Arizona State head coach Todd Graham is fired. Canned. Welcome to Dumpsville, Population: You. But he’s still going to coach in the bowl game.

Herm Edwards is off recruiting, trying to get into the swing of things, and coming up with furniture for his new office, but his new wife is dancing with the ex-husband. If nothing else, this will be interesting theater.

Dave Doeren is still the NC State head coach. There were a few moments when it seemed like he’d be the new Tennessee head man, but nope – that went to Jeremy Pruitt. While parts of the Wolfpack world might be happy about this, 2017 was supposed to be a massive year for the program. As fun as going to the Sun Bowl might be, going 8-4 with three losses in the last five games was a bit of a dud. Lose, and there will be some grumbling this offseason.

The Sun Bowl has been more hit than miss lately. Six of the last nine Sun Bowls were decided by a touchdown or less, and the last three – including last year’s thrilling Stanford win over North Carolina – have been terrific. The Pac-12 has won the last four over the ACC and five of the last six.

Here’s Why Arizona State Will Win The Hyundai Sun Bowl

The Arizona State offense has been fantastic at keeping the chains moving. Red hot at the end of the year, the Sun Devils converted half of their third down conversions against both UCLA and Oregon State, and they converted 11-of-15 tries in the win over Arizona. On the year, ASU has converted 40% or more of their chances nine times in the last 11 games.

NC State’s defense is miserable on third downs, allowing teams to convert over 40% of their chances.

NC State has a slew of great skill players, but the offense is absolutely miserable in the red zone. The placekicking is a big, big problem – Pack kickers hit just 9-of-19 field goals on the year – as part of the bigger overall issue. State’s win over Florida State was the only time the team converted all of their scoring chances inside the 20.

Arizona State? It led the Pac-12 and finished fifth in the nation in red zone offense.

It’s time for the Arizona State star receivers to come out. Even with the help of the great pass rush, the Wolfpack secondary and pass defense is a disaster. That’s where the Sun Devil sophomore receivers come in. N’Keal Harry and Kyle Williams combined to catch 132 passes for 1,678 yards and 13 touchdowns, and now it’ll be their job to spread the field.

Here’s Why NC State Will Win The Hyundai Sun Bowl

NC State is great at rushing the passer. Arizona State is awful in pass protection. Bradley Chubb won just about every major award for a defensive linemen after coming up with ten sacks. But will he play? He’ll travel with the team, but his status is up in the air – he could sit out to make sure he’s healthy for the draft. Even if he doesn’t go, State has other options to hang out in the backfield – the porous ASU line will give up a slew of big plays.

QB Ryan Finley has to be sharp. The ASU 119th-ranked pass defense is next-level awful, allowing 260 yards or more seven times on the year. Josh Rosen winged it for 420 yards. Colorado’s Steven Montez went for 345, and Texas Tech’s Nic Shimonek cranked it up for 543 yards through the air. Finley didn’t throw an interception in the first seven games, and gave up at least one in each of the last five.

Nyheim Hines is healthy. Chubb might be the star, and Finley is the one who makes the offense go, but it’s Hines who takes the attack to another level. The 1,040-yard, nine touchdown rusher hit the 100-yard mark five times. NC State is 5-0 in those games. In fact, the Pack are 7-0 when he runs for 90 yards or more. The ASU run defense is hardly a rock.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Hyundai Sun Bowl

This really is going to be a weird game. Go ahead. You go and judge how hard Arizona State is going to play for Graham. Maybe, this is a case of a team coming out angry and roaring to a win. Maybe, this is a transitional game and the players just want to get it over with. The outcome will dictate the narrative.

Okay, fine. NC State might have a nice defensive front, but really, it’s Chubb. When he’s not on, the rest of the line isn’t getting to the quarterback as much as it should with Shawn Boone – a defensive back – and lineman B.J. Hill tying for second in sacks with three.  

Expect a shootout. Neither team has a secondary, both teams have excellent receivers and talented quarterbacks, and both coaching staffs aren’t afraid to turn it loose. Eight Arizona State games saw over 60 points scored – NC State will have to keep up.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Hyundai Sun Bowl?

NC State is the better team with more overall talent – and it also has a weird way of not quite playing like it.

The best wins this year came against Louisville, Boston College and Marshall. That’s it when it comes to beating bowl bound teams, while Arizona State got by Oregon, stuffed Washington, and beat Utah and Arizona, too.

Everyone will pick NC State, and then Arizona State will come up with a win in an entertaining game. The players will show up for Graham in his finale.

Final Score

Arizona State 38, NC State 34
More Bowl Info & Get Tickets

Line

NC State -6.5, o/u: 59.5

ATS Confidence: 2.5
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 3.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

Sun Bowl History, Results

Dec. 30, 2016 Stanford 25, North Carolina 23
Dec. 26, 2015 Washington State 20 Miami 14
Dec. 27, 2014 Arizona State 36 Duke 31
Dec. 31, 2013 UCLA 42 Virginia Tech 12
Dec. 31, 2012 Georgia Tech 21 USC 7
Dec. 31, 2011 Utah 30 Georgia Tech 27 (OT)
Dec. 31, 2010 Notre Dame 33 Miami 17
Dec. 31, 2009 Oklahoma 31 Stanford 27
Dec. 31, 2008 Oregon State 3 Pittsburgh 0
Dec. 31, 2007 Oregon 56 USF 21
Dec. 29, 2006 Oregon State 39 Missouri 38
Dec. 30, 2005 UCLA 50 Northwestern 38
Dec. 31, 2004 Arizona State 27 Purdue 23
Dec. 31, 2003 Minnesota 31 Oregon 30
Dec. 31, 2002 Purdue 34 Washington 24
Dec. 31, 2001 Washington State 33 Purdue 27
Dec. 29, 2000 Wisconsin 21 UCLA 20
Dec. 31, 1999 Oregon 24 Minnesota 20
Dec. 31, 1998 TCU 28 USC 19
Dec. 31, 1997 Arizona State 17 Iowa 7
Dec. 31, 1996 Stanford 38 Michigan State 0
Dec. 29, 1995 Iowa 38 Washington 18
Dec. 30, 1994 Texas 35 North Carolina 31
Dec. 31, 1993 Oklahoma 41 Texas Tech 10
Dec. 31, 1992 Baylor 20 Arizona 15
Dec. 31, 1991 UCLA 6 Illinois 3
Dec. 31, 1990 Michigan State 17 USC 16
Dec. 30, 1989 Pittsburgh 31 Texas A&M 28
Dec. 24, 1988 Alabama 29 Army 28
Dec. 25, 1987 Oklahoma State 35 West Virginia 33
Dec. 25, 1986 Alabama 28 Washington 6
Dec. 28, 1985 Arizona 13 Georgia 13
Dec. 22, 1984 Maryland 28 Tennessee 27
Dec. 24, 1983 Alabama 28 SMU 7
Dec. 25, 1982 North Carolina 26 Texas 10
Dec. 26, 1981 Oklahoma 40 Houston 14
Dec. 27, 1980 Nebraska 31 Mississippi St. 17
Dec. 22, 1979 Washington 14 Texas 7
Dec. 23, 1978 Texas 42 Maryland 0
Dec. 31, 1977 Stanford 24 LSU 14
Jan. 2, 1977 Texas A&M 37 Florida 14
Dec. 26, 1975 Pittsburgh 33 Kansas 19
Dec. 28, 1974 Mississippi State 26 North Carolina 24
Dec. 29, 1973 Missouri 34 Auburn 17
Dec. 30, 1972 North Carolina 32 Texas Tech 28
Dec. 18, 1971 LSU 33 Iowa State 15
Dec. 19, 1970 Georgia Tech 17 Texas Tech 9
Dec. 20, 1969 Nebraska 45 Georgia 6
Dec. 30, 1968 Auburn 34 Arizona 10
Dec. 24, 1967 UTEP 14 Mississippi 7
Dec. 24, 1966 Wyoming 28 Florida State 20
Dec. 31, 1965 UTEP 13 TCU 12
Dec. 26, 1964 Georgia 7 Texas Tech 0
Dec. 31, 1963 Oregon 21 SMU 14
Dec. 31, 1962 West Texas State 15 Ohio 14
Dec. 30, 1961 Villanova 17 Wichita State 9
Dec. 31, 1960 New Mexico State 20 Utah State 13
Dec. 31, 1959 New Mexico State 28 North Texas 8
Dec. 31, 1958 Wyoming 14 Hardin-Simmons 6
Jan. 1, 1957 George Washington 13 UTEP 0
Jan. 2, 1956 Wyoming 21 Texas Tech 14
Jan. 1, 1955 UTEP 47 Florida State 20
Jan. 1, 1954 UTEP 37 Southern Miss 14
Jan. 1, 1953 Pacific 26 Southern Miss 7
Jan. 1, 1952 Texas Tech 25 Pacific 14
Jan. 1, 1951 West Texas State 14 Cincinnati 13
Jan. 2, 1950 UTEP 33 Georgetown 20
Jan. 1, 1949 West Virginia 21 UTEP 12
Jan. 1, 1948 Miami Univ. 13 Texas Tech 12
Jan. 1, 1947 Cincinnati 18 Virginia Tech 6
Jan. 1, 1946 New Mexico 34 Denver 24
Jan. 1, 1945 Southwestern 35 Mexico 0
Jan. 1, 1944 Southwestern 7 New Mexico 0
Jan. 1, 1943 Second Air Force 13 Hardin-Simmons 7
Jan. 1, 1942 Tulsa 6 Texas Tech 0
Jan. 1, 1941 Western Reserve 26 Arizona State 13
Jan. 1, 1940 Arizona State 0 Catholic 0
Jan. 2, 1939 Utah 26 New Mexico 0
Jan. 1, 1938 West Virginia 7 Texas Tech 6
Jan. 1, 1937 Hardin-Simmons 34 UTEP 6
Jan. 1, 1936 Hardin-Simmons 14 New Mexico St. 14
Jan. 1, 1935 El Paso H.S. All-Stars 25 Ranger H.S. 21

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