Expert Cappers Picks
College Football
Preview
NC State vs Texas A&M
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, December 31, 2018
Where: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida



TAXSLAYER GATOR BOWL STORYLINES

1. Jimbo Fisher will get a chance to win his first bowl game with Texas A&M in a state where he had plenty of previous success when the Aggies face North Carolina State on Dec. 31 in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. Fisher, who guided Florida State to the National Championship in 2013, got Texas A&M to No. 19 in the final College Football Playoff poll in his first season at the school and briefly had the Aggies in playoff discussions before back-to-back road losses to Mississippi State and Auburn bridged October and November. Wolfpack coach Dave Dorean is leading his team to its fifth straight bowl game behind an offense that averaged 35.6 points during the regular season.

2. Dorean's offense lost its leader when offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eli Drinkwitz signed a five-year deal to become the head coach at Appalachian State earlier in December. Dorean responded by promoting two other assistants - Des Kitchings and George McDonald - to serve as co-offensive coordinators moving forward. "I'm excited that Des and George will have the opportunity to oversee and develop our offense," Doeren told reporters. "They have a great working relationship and respect for each other and their familiarity with our offense will provide us with great continuity for our players and recruits."

3. The Texas A&M offense is capable of lighting up the scoreboard as well and averaged 51 points in winning each of its final three games, capped by a 74-72, seven-overtime triumph over LSU in the regular-season finale. Fisher expects that offense and the rest of his team to have plenty of fan support in Jacksonville despite the long travel. "We are very excited to be facing a very good North Carolina State team in a New Year's Eve bowl game," Fisher told reporters. "The Gator Bowl is a first-class event run by a first-class organization and the city is a great destination. I'm certain the 12th Man will enjoy its time in Florida."

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Texas A&M -6.5

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (9-3, 5-3 ACC): NC State quarterback Ryan Finley led the ACC in passing with 3,789 yards - over 1,000 more than the next-closest - while matching Clemson's Trevor Lawrence for the top spot with 24 passing TDs. Finley's plethora of targets include wide receivers Kelvin Harmon (1,186 yards) and Jakobi Meyers (1,028), who became the first pair of teammates in school history to each go over 1,000 yards in the same campaign. "For us to have two 1,000-yard receivers, which has never been done here, it's a tribute to our whole entire offensive staff," Finley told reporters. "Our whole entire offense makes that happen. I'm really happy."

ABOUT TEXAS A&M (8-4, 5-3 SEC): Fisher remade the Aggies into a more physical team in his first year on the job, evidenced on offense by the success of running back Trayveon Williams and tight end Jace Sternberger. Williams led the SEC in rushing with 1,524 yards and 15 touchdowns while Sternberger ranked as the most productive pass-catching tight end in the conference with 804 yards and 10 TDs. On the other side of the ball, Texas A&M finished second in FBS in rushing defense, allowing an average of 92 yards on the ground.



PREDICTION: Texas A&M 31, NC State 24
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
NC State 9-3 W3 35.6 22.7 6-1 3-2 7-2 0-0 5-3
Texas A&M 8-4 W3 34.7 26.3 7-1 1-3 7-4 0-0 5-3
Last Meeting
NC State Texas A&M
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
NC State N/A
Texas A&M N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
NC State N/A
Texas A&M N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
NC State N/A
Texas A&M N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
NC State N/A
Texas A&M N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
NC State R. Finley 67.9 3789 24 9
Texas A&M K. Mond 57.6 2967 23 8
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
NC State R. Gallaspy II 214 1014 4.7 18
Texas A&M T. Williams 252 1524 6.0 15
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
NC State K. Harmon 81 1186 14.6 7
Texas A&M J. Sternberger 47 804 17.1 10
Touchdowns Player TD
NC State R. Gallaspy II 19
Texas A&M T. Williams 16
Quickchart Matchup
NC State NC State Off vs  Texas A&M Texas A&M Def
NC State 471.5 yards
Texas A&M 354.7 yards
NC State 3.9 yards/rush
Texas A&M 3.2 yards/rush
NC State 8.5 yards/attempt
Texas A&M 8.5 yards/attempt
Texas A&M Texas A&M Off vs  NC State NC State Def
Texas A&M 465.8 yards
NC State 380.2 yards
Texas A&M 4.9 yards/rush
NC State 3.5 yards/rush
Texas A&M 7.6 yards/attempt
NC State 7.6 yards/attempt