Belk Bowl Game Preview

Arkansas Razorback vs Virginia Tech Hokies

This is the first time the Hokies and Razorbacks have met on the gridiron, and this matchup in the Belk Bowl game could feature plenty of fireworks (Enter Contest). Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen was arguably the SEC’s best player on offense through the first half of the season. However, the junior suffered a knee injury suffered against Auburn and tossed six interceptions over his final five games. With a month to get healthy, Allen should be near full strength, which is good news for an Arkansas attack that also features running back Rawleigh Williams and talented tight end Jeremy Sprinkle. The Razorbacks need a big game from Allen and Williams to win this one, especially considering the problems on defense stopping mobile quarterbacks in 2016.

Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans passed for 3,309 yards and 27 scores in his first year on campus and also led the team with 759 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Arkansas ranks 10th in the SEC in scoring defense and is giving up just over 200 yards (209.3) on the ground per game. The Hokies are led by first-year coach Justin Fuente, but rest assured they are a tough matchup for the Razorbacks.

ABOUT ARKANSAS (7-5, 3-5 SEC)

The Razorbacks have won their last three bowl games, but they will likely need Austin Allen to play like he did in the first half of the season if they are going to extend their streak. Allen’s first five games featured 12 passing TDs, a rushing score and only two interceptions. His last seven games saw him throw 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, including multiple picks in a disappointing loss to Missouri to end the regular season.

In one sense, the Razorbacks are a balanced team as they score 30.8 points on average and they also give up 30.8 points per contest. Rawleigh Williams III ran for at least 117 yards seven times this season and totaled 322 yards and five rushing scores in the last two games. Arkansas will be facing the Hokies for the first time in school history.

ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (9-4, 6-2 ACC)

The Hokies got big production in the ACC title game from the usual suspects. Quarterback Jerod Evans had one passing TD, two rushing TDs, while Travon McMillian collected two rushing scores and Cam Phillips grabbed 12 catches, 92 yards and a TD. Evans enters the postseason with 27 touchdown strikes and seven interceptions, not to mention 10 rushing scores, while McMillian has added six TDs on the ground and another three through the air. Phillips (70 catches, 868 yards) forms a dangerous tandem with Isaiah Ford (73 receptions, 1,038 yards) for the Hokies, who are seeking their fourth bowl victory in the last five seasons.

The Hokies are appearing in their 24th straight bowl game, but of course it will be the first for Fuente, who helped his team surpass expectations after Frank Beamer failed to exceed eight wins in any of the last four seasons.

Posted in CFB

Fanpicks.com College Football Bowl Game Preview

Belk Bowl

Mississippi State vs. North Carolina State

The Belk Bowl will feature another exciting game between Mississippi State and North Carolina State.  Fanpicks.com the premiere daily fantasy sports site is proud to provide you with the following bowl preview in which we predict will be taken by Mississippi State in a close 30 – 27 final score.  Play the best fantasy college football contests only at Fanpicks.com

A pair of potent offenses and dual-threat quarterbacks square off when Mississippi State takes on North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. Both teams average more than 400 total yards and 33 points per game, and their talented quarterbacks are the catalysts. Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott has passed for 3,413 yards with 25 touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing for 541 yards and 10 more scores; N.C. State’s Jacoby Brissett has rolled up 2,448 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions while adding 303 yards and five TDs on the ground.

N.C. State should enjoy a de facto home-field advantage. The Wolfpack are playing a short distance from home and have 15 players from the Charlotte area, including TE/FB Jaylen Samuels (315 rushing yards, 7 TDs; 64 receptions, 599 yards, 7 TDs). It will be the third time the Wolfpack have played in the bowl, where they defeated Louisville 31-24 in 2011 and beat South Florida 14-0 in the 2005 game, then known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Both coaches have enjoyed success in bowl games. Dan Mullen has Mississippi State in its sixth bowl in seven years and has posted a 3-2 record, though the Bulldogs have lost two of their last three bowls – including a 49-34 loss to Georgia Tech in last year’s Orange Bowl. N.C. State’s Dave Doeren is 2-0 in bowl games, including a 34-27 win over UCF in last year’s St. Petersburg Bowl – his first postseason trip with the Wolfpack.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE Season Overview (7-5, 3-5 ACC): The Wolfpack rolled through a weak non-conference schedule and took care of the bottom tier of the ACC, but they lack a signature win. Their impressive offensive totals are skewed somewhat by rolling up big numbers against weak competition, but they did put up 514 total yards against North Carolina and 389 versus top-ranked Clemson and are at their best when the ground game led by Matt Dayes (865 yards, 12 TDs) is working. The defense also was impressive against the weaker teams on the schedule but was exposed by Clemson (623 total yards), Florida State (479) and North Carolina (553).

MISSISSIPPI STATE Season Overview (8-4, 4-4 SEC): While Prescott is the engine, the Bulldogs are far from a one-man team, as Fred Ross (81 catches, 933 yards, 4 TDs) and De’Runnya Wilson (55 catches, 822 yards, 9 TDs) lead a talented receiving corps. Turnovers were a major problem late in the season, though, as Mississippi State had nine giveaways over its final four games, including at least two in each contest. The defense had its share of struggles against top competition, especially against the run, as five opponents rolled up more than 200 rushing yards against the Bulldogs with another finishing just six yards shy of that mark.

 

Posted in CFB