The Hyundai Sun Bowl is played in El Paso, Texas and will feature the N.C. State Wolfpack and the Arizona State Sun Devils. Both teams came up a couple of games short of being able to represent their divisions in their conference championship games. Here is the 2017 Hyunday Sun Bowl preview:
24 N.C. State Wolfpack (8-4)
After losing to South Carolina in the season opener, the Wolpack went on to win their next six games. Their solid wins include: Boston College, Louisville, Florida State and Marshall. Dave Doern has the program heading in the right direction.
The offense averages 30.6 points per game, which is above average. They have a solid running game, led by Nyheim Hines. He has 1,040 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 5.7 yards per carry. His speed makes him a dynamic weapon. Reggie Gallaspy and Jaylen Samuels also get some carries, with both of them having over 350 yards rushing.
Ryan Finley has molded himself into a legitimate NFL Draft prospect after transferring in from Boise State. He has thrown for 3,200 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions this season on 64% completion. Kelvin Harmon is his leading receiver with 993 receiving yards and four touchdowns, but Jaylen Samuels is a matchup nightmare. Samuels has 551 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
The defense has also been decent, allowing 24.8 points per game. They rank 27th against the run and 95th against the pass. Defensive end Bradley Chubb is a great NFL Draft prospect and has dominated this season with 10 sacks. He will have to be double teamed.
Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5)
Arizona State has gotten rid of Todd Graham and has brought in Herm Edwards. They beat some solid teams in Arizona, Utah, Washington and Oregon to help them get bowl eligible. While Graham isn’t the answer, it was still a decent season for the Sun Devils.
They score 33.6 points per game, which is a solid mark. The Sun Devils run the ball decently well at 179.9 points per game. Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage split carries in the backfield. Richard has 977 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, while Ballage has 657 rushing yards and six touchdowns. The two are both good college running backs and help keep each other fresh.
Manny Wilkins has had a great season at quarterback for the Sun Devils. He has 2,918 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions on 63.5% passing. N’Keal Harry has been the leading receiver and has 1,000 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
Their defense is below par, allowing 31.3 points per game. The Sun Devils rank 78th against the run and 119th versus the pass. Senior linebacker Alani Latu has seven sacks on the season and will be tasked with getting after Finley.
The Wolfpack have an NFL-caliber quarterback and pass rusher on the same team, which is a good sign. Finley will protect the ball and distribute it to Hines and Samuels to make plays. Chubb will get after the quarterback and make it harder for the Sun Devils to move the ball.
N.C. State Wolfpack 36 Arizona State Sun Devils 32
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