Mountaineer Monday: Champs Sports Bowl Preview Edition

Chris Humphrey@@_CBH_Correspondent IDecember 6, 2010

Mountaineer Monday: Champs Sports Bowl Preview Edition

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    Senior RB Noel DevineAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    For these two squads, the preseason predictions had one team finishing at the bottom of their respective league, and the other outright winning the league in 2010

    For the Wolfpack, the predicted 4thplace finish was averted by the play of Russell Wilson and the tremendous passing offense displayed in Raleigh this season.

    North Carolina State finished the 2010 season 2nd in the ACC Atlantic Division as they came up short against Maryland in the season finale, propelling Florida State to the ACC title game this season.

    For the Mountaineers, the program entered with high hopes of winning the Big East as star players Noel Devine and Jock Sanders returned for their senior seasons looking at big goals in Morgantown.

    The dreams of the first outright Big East title since 2005 were shredded after a two game losing streak to Syracuse at home and Connecticut on the road after poor offense output in both games.

    The two teams will look to put a exclamation point on 2010 with a win in their bowl later this month on December 29th in South Florida.

    With that being said, let’s get to the breakdown of the Champs Sports Bowl between these two marquee teams from the ACC and Big East...

    This article is also featured on A Blue & Gold State of Mind.

History

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Overall Record: West Virginia Leads 5-4

    First Meeting: 10/22/1914 – NCSU 26, WVU 13

    Last Meeting: 09/22/1979 – NCSU 38, WVU 14

    Biggest WVU Win: 61-0 – 11/21/1953

    Biggest NC State Win: 49-13 – 12/29/1972 Peach Bowl

West Virginia National Rankings

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Offense –

    Total: 64th Nationally with 376 Yards per Game

    Passing: 66th Nationally with 214 Yards per Game

    Rushing: 49th Nationally with 162 Yards per Game

    Defense –

    Total: 3rd Nationally with 251 Yards per Game

    Passing: 11th Nationally with 166 Yards per Game

    Rushing: 2nd Nationally with 85 Yards per Game

North Carolina State National Rankings

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Offense –

    Total: 39thNationally with 406 Yards per Game

    Passing: 19th Nationally with 281 Yards per Game

    Rushing: 93rd Nationally with 125 yards per Game

    Defense –

    Total: 35th Nationally with 340 Yards per Game

    Passing: 78th Nationally with 227 Yards per Game

    Defense: 12th Nationally with 113 Yards per Game

Quarterbacks

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    WVU, Geno Smith – 219-333 Attempts, 2567 Yards, 94 Carries, 158 Yards, 23 Touchdowns, Six Interceptions

    NC State, Russell Wilson – 280-482 Attempts, 3288 Yards, 129 Carries, 394 Rushing Yards, 14 35 Total Touchdowns, 14 Interceptions

    EDGE: WVU

Running Backs

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    WVU, Noel Devine – 201 Carries, 886 Yards, 30 Catches, 237 Yards, Seven Total Touchdowns

    NC State, Mustafa Green – 131 Carries, 584 Rushing Yards, 29 Catches, 256 Yards Receiving, and Five Touchdowns Total

    EDGE: North Carolina State

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    WVU, Tavon Austin – 53 Catches, 757 Yards, 14 Carries, 152 Yards, Nine Total Touchdowns

    NC State, Owen Spencer – 57 Catches, 868 Yards, 4 Touchdowns

    EDGE: WVU

Offensive Lines

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    WVU 2010 Experience:  Four Seniors, Six Juniors

    NC State 2010 Experience: Four Seniors, Three Juniors, Three Sophomores, Two Freshmen

    EDGE: WVU

Defensive Lines

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    WVU, Julian Miller – 25 Tackles (25 Solo), 10 Tackles For Loss, 7 Sacks, Forced Fumble

    NC State, JR Sweezy – 33 Tackles (17 Solo), 4 Sacks, Forced Fumble

    EDGE: WVU

Linebackers

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    WVU, Anthony Leonard – 28 Tackles (37 Solo), Sack, Forced Fumble

    NC State, Nate Irving - .46 Tackles (42 Solo), 16 Tackles For Loss, 5 Sacks, 2 Forced Fumbles

    EDGE: WVU

Defensive Backs

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    WVU, Keith Tandy – Six Interceptions, 17 Tackles (37 Solo), Forced Fumble, Tackle For Loss

    NC State, Brandan Bishop– Three Interceptions, 34 Tackles (27 Solo), Forced Fumble

    EDGE: WVU

Special Teams

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    WVU, Tyler Bitancurt -  40-40 PAT Attempts, 10-15 Field Goals

    NC State, Josh Czajkowski – 40-41 PAT Attempts, 17-22 Field Goals

    EDGE: WVU

Coaching Staff

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    WVU, Bill Stewart – Third Year, 28-11 Overall Record, One Conference Championship (2010)

    NC State, Tom O’Brien – Fourth Year, 21-22 Overall Record

    EDGE: WVU

Prediction

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Keys to a WVU Win:

    -   Excellent Play from Geno Smith

    -   Increased use of Tavon Austin in the passing game

    -   Avoid the turnover bug that plagued the offense lately

    Keys to a NCSU Win:

    -   Continued steady play of Russell Wilson

    -   Throw down field against a sometimes fragile secondary

    -   Control the run against the trio of Alston, Clark, and Devine

    Pick: West Virginia 28, North Carolina State 20