The last bowl game of the calendar year will pit the ACC and SEC against each other. NC State and Texas A&M will face each other on Dec 31. Here is the 2018 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl preview.
NC State Wolfpack (9-3)
The Wolfpack were one of three ACC teams to get to nine wins on the season. They beat three bowl-eligible teams including Boston College, Virginia and Marshall. Their only losses came to teams that were at least .500.
NC State is tied for 21st in the country with 35.6 points per game. They rush for 143.7 yards (ranked 97th) and pass for 327.7 yards per game (ranked sixth).
Quarterback Ryan Finley has been a star for NC State. He has thrown for 3,789 yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 67.9% completion. Two receivers have had great seasons for the Wolfpack. Kelvin Harmon has led the team, but is skipping the bowl game to prepare for the NFL. Jackobi Myers will play and has had 89 receptions for 1,028 yards and four touchdowns.
Reggie Gallaspy leads the team in rushing with 1,012 yards and 18 touchdowns. When Gallaspy needs a breather, Ricky Person has come in to spell him. He has 424 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
The defense gives up 22.7 points per game, which ranks them 37th in the country. They allow 109.1 rushing yards (ranked 13th) and 271.2 passing yards (ranked 120th) per game. Linebacker Germaine Pratt has been one of the best in the country with 104 total tackles.
Texas A&M Aggies (8-4)
Jimbo Fisher has had a great start to his time at Texas A&M with an 8-4 record. They beat four bowl-eligible teams including LSU and Kentucky. The Aggies lost to four teams, all of whom were bowl-eligible, including Clemson and Alabama.
The offense scores 34.7 points per game, which ranks 27th in the country. They rush for 203.8 yards (ranked 32nd) and pass for 262 yards (ranked 35th) per game.
Kellen Mond has seen his play improve drastically with Fisher in charge. He has 2,967 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 57.6% completion. Tight end Jace Sternberger leads the team in receiving with 47 catches for 804 yards and 10 touchdowns. Five other receivers have at least 200 yards receiving on the year.
Running back Trayveon Williams has been a star for the Aggies. He has rushed for 1,524 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. Mond is the second leading rusher with 389 yards and six touchdowns from the quarterback position.
They have the 58th ranked scoring defense, giving up 26.3 points per game. They allow 92 rushing yards (ranked second) and 262.7 passing yards (ranked 111th) per game. One of the best nose tackles in college football is Daylon Mack, who has 29 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
Mond and Williams will have to play well for Texas A&M to win this game. With the Aggies losing two of their four games to Clemson and Alabama, they are much better than their record says. Texas A&M will limit Finley and win the game.
Texas A&M Aggies 33 NC State Wolfpack 29
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