Why NC State Will Win The TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
– Here comes the NC State pass rush. Bradley Chubb might be long gone, but the Wolfpack defensive front was still a killer in the backfield averaging close to three sacks and seven tackles for loss per game. For all of the good things Texas A&M did this season, pass protection wasn’t one of them, allowing close to three sacks and over seven tackles for loss per game. The Pack have to own the money downs to throw A&M off of its rhythm, which is why it’s a big deal that …
– NC State is a killer on third downs. It’s partly because it has an NFL-caliber quarterback in Ryan Finley moving the chains at an ACC-best 51% clip, and it’s partly because the offense puts a premium on ball control. A&M was amazing at winning the time of possession battle, but NC State was 12th in the nation holding it for over 33 minutes per game. Thanks to the pass rush, the defense is amazing, too, allowing teams to convert just 32% of their chances.
– The Wolfpack offensive line keeps its guy upright. Finley is so good that he can get the ball out of his hands to the right first read in a hurry, but the O line is just that good too. The Pack led the ACC with the fewest sacks allowed, helping make the league’s best and most efficient passing game go.