For Vanderbilt and NC State, the 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl is finally here.
For the first time under third-year coach Derek Mason, the Commodores are participating in a bowl game after finishing the regular season with wins against Ole Miss and Tennessee. It is Vanderbilt’s first bowl appearance since the 2013 season, when the Commodores defeated Houston in the Birmingham Bowl.
NC State earned its bowl eligibility by knocking off North Carolina in the last game of the season to secure a 6-6 record.
The Wolfpack and Commodores last met in the 2012 Music City Bowl, a game Vanderbilt won 38-24.
Vanderbilt vs. NC State: Independence Bowl game time, details
Time: 5 p.m. ET kickoff
Date: Monday, Dec. 26
Location: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.
Weather: High of 54 degrees with an 80% chance of rain showers.
The line: NC State is a 3.5-point favorite.
What TV channel is the Independence Bowl between Vanderbilt and NC State on?
It will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
How can I watch the Independence Bowl between Vanderbilt and NC State online?
It can be watched online via WatchESPN.
How can I listen to the Independence Bowl between Vanderbilt and NC State on the radio?
You can listen to this game on Sports USA Radio Network with Josh Appel and Doug Plank on the call. A full list of Vanderbilt radio affiliates can be found here. For NC State fans, the Wolfpack radio affiliate information can be found here.
Who is calling the Independence Bowl for ESPN2?
Mike Couzens, Cole Cubelic, Kevin Weidl
Vanderbilt vs. NC State keys to the Independence Bowl
1. Vanderbilt’s emerging passing game
Commodores starting quarterback Kyle Shurmur turned it on down the stretch of his first full season as a starting quarterback, passing for over 200 yards in Vanderbilt’s final four games. The final two were wins over Ole Miss and Tennessee, as he threw for 2 TDs in each contest. So the Wolfpack simply can’t just stop Ralph Webb and think they have it made.
2. All-American LB Zach Cunningham
Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham will be the best player on the field in Shreveport, so by default he becomes a key to the outcome of the game. Can he continue to be a one-man wrecking crew for opposing offenses? Can the Wolfpack offense effectively scheme around his presence?
3. Rivalry win momentum
Both of these teams enjoyed rivalry game victories to push them to six wins in the final week of the season. That’s a huge accomplishment celebrated by the fan bases (bragging rights) and coaching staffs (extra bowl practices) alike. The team that keeps that chip on its shoulder and plays with the edge likely will have the advantage in this one.