Both North Carolina State and Louisville had to overcome a losing start to end up becoming bowl eligible. NC State had a 2-3 start before becoming bowl eligible, when they upset No. 7 Clemson and rebounded from a 27-point deficit to beat Maryland . They finished 7-5.
Louisville also pulled themselves up from the ground; after starting 2-4, they went on to win five of their last six games to find themselves in a three-way tie for the Big East conference title with Cincinnati and West Virginia.
Where: Charlotte, NC
When: December 27th, 2011 at 8 ET
This will be the fourth time the Wolfpack and the Cardinals will be meeting each other. Louisville is 3-0 in their meetings. The last time they faced each other was in 2007.
What They're Saying
Louisville is a team that has 28 freshman and sophomores who turned the tide when injuries plagued their seniors. They face the Wolfpack, who carry more experience. Both have overcome odds to face each other.
NC State Player to Watch: Mike Glennon
Senior quarterback Mike Glennon tied the school record for scoring six touchdowns in a game and broke one for overcoming a 27-point deficit with 42 unanswered points.
He will be facing a decent Cardinals passing defense that has done well to limit points, and it will be interesting to see how his high-velocity throws will fare against them. Glennon has been great this season at executing deep passes.
It will be his first time facing the Louisville Cardinals.
Louisville Player to Watch: Terry Bridgewater
Freshman quarterback Terry Bridgewater had a good debut this year: He led Louisville from a poor start to a share of the Big East title. He has likely locked up the Big East Freshman of the Year honors, and he set the school record with a freshman single-season passing mark, with 1,855 yards.
It will be exciting to see how he plays in his first bowl game.
Key Matchup: North Carolina State Offense vs. Louisville Defense
This will be a great key matchup in this bowl game. NC State has been averaging 238 yards and 24.8 points a game. Louisville's defense has turned around, and is known for their tackling. They limit their opponents to just about 20 points a game.
Mike Glennon and his offense have made some great big plays this season, and it'll be a matchup to see if they pull any against Louisville.
Prediction: North Carolina with a slight edge over Louisville
Watching two hot teams who have found their stride play against each other will make for an interesting game. It may lead to a close game instead of a blowout.