Sunday, December 28, 2008 Bowl: NC State vs. Rutgers


December 29 * 3:00 PM * ESPN

Two of the hottest teams in the nation go head-to-head. Rutgers had a tale of two seasons: The first half was a nightmare as the Scarlet Knights started out 1-5, with thoughts of their fourth straight bowl appearance seeming more like a pipe dream. The second half, on the other hand, saw them win six straight games, finishing No. 2 in the Big East in total offense. Mike Teel was torching opposing defenses, throwing 20 touchdown passes in the final five games, and should look to exploit North Carolina State’s 94th ranked passing defense. Junior wide receiver Kenny Britt, who may be playing his last game in scarlet, finished second in the nation in receiving yards this season and should have a big day. The Wolfpack had an injury-plagued season – 13 starters missed multiple games in 2008. After starting 0-4 in the conference, the Wolfpack rattled off four-straight conference victories to finish the season. Head coach Tom O’Brien knows Rutgers very well; he was 8-0 against them when he roamed the sidelines at Boston College. Quarterback Russell Wilson heads into the postseason with an impressive 226 passes without an interception, the longest streak in the nation, and has 16 touchdowns to one interception this season, the fewest among all FBS quarterbacks. Running backs Andre Brown and Jamelle Eugene have helped in the running game, and the defense has improved significantly in recent weeks led by linebacker Nate Irving.

Inside the Numbers – Pass, Run & Catch

North Carolina St. (6-6, 4-4)

Pass: Russell Wilson – 1,769 yards, 16 TDs
Run: Andre Brown – 728 yards, 6 TDs
Catch: Owen Spencer – 29-626-4 TDs

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-5, 5-2)
Pass: Mike Teel – 3,099 yards, 23 TDs
Run: Kordell Young – 550 yards, 5 TDs
Catch: Kenny Britt – 81-1,252-6 TDs

Photo Credit: Tom Ciszak, Rutgers Athletics