N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest all accept bowl bids

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) N.C. STATE

NC State will spend the holidays in the Sunshine State, as the Wolfpack has been selected to play in the 2018 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. The game, which will be played at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 and will be televised by ESPN.

The Wolfpack finished the season with nine regular season wins for only the sixth time in school history and the second since the turn of the century. The invitation marks the fifth consecutive bowl appearance for the Wolfpack, and the seventh in head coach Dave Doeren's eight-year stint as a head coach. It is the second-longest bowl streak in NC State history.

"We are excited for the chance to play in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl," said Doeren, who has led his team to back-to-back nine win seasons for the first time since 1991-92 and only the third time in school history. "Playing in a quality bowl with such a rich tradition is a great reward for our players. Florida is a big focus for us in recruiting and we have a strong alumni base in the state. I know that Wolfpack Nation - the greatest fan base in the country - will come to Jacksonville and support us."

Director of Athletics Deborah A. Yow added: "We are grateful for the opportunity to compete in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl against a well-respected opponent from the SEC. Our previous experience in this game brings many fond memories within our fan base. It is a first-class event in a wonderful city and we look forward to returning to Jacksonville."

NC State's explosive offense has rewritten the record books this season, entering bowl play as one of just two Power 5 teams to boast a 3,000-yard passer (Ryan Finley), a 1,000-yard rusher (Reggie Gallaspy, Jr.) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers). Playoff-bound Oklahoma is the only other team in the P5 to post those impressive numbers and that feat has been accomplished just one other time in ACC history (FSU in 2012).

This is NC State's 32nd bowl appearance (17-13-1) and its fourth in the Gator Bowl. The Wolfpack played its first bowl game at the storied bowl in 1947 and also played there in 1992 and 2002.

The Wolfpack will face SEC foe Texas A&M in the contest - the first meeting between the two schools on the gridiron. The Aggies post an 8-4 overall record, with a 5-3 mark in league competition.

For ticket information, click HERE.

Wolfpack Club members and NC State fans can reserve tickets via this link now. The priority deadline for fans to order bowl tickets is Wednesday, December 5.

Tickets prices range from $85-125 and can be ordered on-line at the GoPack.com Ticket Center or by phone through the NC State Ticket Office at (919) 865-1510 during regular office hours (Monday - Friday, 8:30a.m. - 4:30p.m.). Seating assignments will be determined by Wolfpack Club priority rank and if a price level is sold out, fans will automatically be assigned to the next lowest-priced ticket by priority and refunded the difference in cost. Any Non-Wolfpack Club member that places an order is subject to availability and seated after all Wolfpack Club orders are filled.

For Wolfpack Club travel info, please visit www.wolfpackclubtravel.com.

DUKE

Duke University will play in its sixth bowl game in the past seven seasons by meeting Temple in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl on Thursday, December 27 in Shreveport, La.

Kickoff at Independence Stadium is set for 1:30 p.m., and the game will be televised live by ESPN. The meeting on the gridiron between the Blue Devils (7-5) and the Owls (8-4) will mark the first in series history.

Blue Devil fans are encouraged to purchase tickets from the Duke allotment on GoDuke.com.

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe was enshrined into the Independence Bowl Hall of Honor in 2003 after guiding Ole Miss to victories in 1998 (35-18; Texas Tech), 1999 (27-25; Oklahoma) and 2002 (27-23; Nebraska). Cutcliffe, who is 6-4 all-time as a head coach in bowl games, will participate in the 28th bowl game of his coaching career, a tenure which includes 17 games as an assistant coach at Tennessee (11-6), five as the head coach at Ole Miss (4-1) and five as the head coach at Duke (2-3).

“It is an honor to be selected to participate in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl,” Cutcliffe said. “Obviously, we have a great deal of history in Shreveport in association with this bowl game. I’m excited for our players to have another opportunity to practice together and play in a 13th game of this season. This group has earned the opportunity to win the program’s third bowl game in a row.

“Replicating our schedule from past seasons, we’ll close out the academic semester before turning our attention to a well-coached Temple team,” Cutcliffe continued. “Congratulations to Coach Collins and the Owls on an excellent season as we have tremendous respect for their entire program. At Duke, we take great pride in representing the Atlantic Coast Conference, and we’ll embrace the challenge of competing against a very fine Temple squad.

“Special thanks to Missy Setters and the entire bowl staff for their commitment and dedication to providing a great experience to both programs.”

Ten of Duke’s 11 FBS regular season opponents secured bowl bids on Sunday with No. 2 Clemson earning a spot in the College Football Playoff. The combined overall record of the Blue Devils’ 12 foes stands at 82-61 (.573) with Army West Point’s regular season tilt versus Navy pending prior to bowl season.

Offensively, the Blue Devils are led by redshirt junior quarterback Daniel Jones, senior wideout T.J. Rahming and sophomore running back Deon Jackson. Jones, who ranks fourth in the ACC in passing yards per game (225.1), has thrown for 2,251 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 325 yards and an additional two scores while Rahming, an All-ACC selection for the second straight season, leads Duke with 63 receptions for 571 yards and six touchdowns. Jackson garnered second team All-ACC honors as an all-purpose back after rushing for 806 yards and seven touchdowns, catching 24 passes for 246 yards and two scores and totaling 443 yards on 20 kickoff returns. In addition, Jones has utilized three redshirt senior targets in tight end Daniel Helm (22 receptions for 248 yards & 2 TDs; 3rd team All-ACC), tight end Davis Koppenhaver (13-111-6), wide receiver Johnathan Lloyd (46-557-5) and wide receiver Chris Taylor (28-363-2).

On defense, a duo of All-ACC linebackers in redshirt junior Joe Giles-Harris and senior Ben Humphreys spearhead a unit which ranks sixth in the league in scoring defense. Giles-Harris, who became the first Duke linebacker to earn multiple first team all-league citations since Mike Junkin in 1985-86, leads the squad with 80 tackles including 6.5 stops for lost yardage, while Humphreys has amassed 66 tackles with a team-high two fumble recoveries. A total of 11 Blue Devils have recorded 3.0 or more tackles for loss on the year, led by redshirt freshman defensive end Chris Rumph II (7.0), Giles-Harris, sophomore defensive end Victor Dimukeje (6.5), Humphreys (5.5) and redshirt freshman safety Leonard Johnson (5.0).

With an all-time record of 5-8, Duke will make its 14th bowl game appearance. The Blue Devils also have appeared in the Rose Bowl (1938 & 1941 seasons), Sugar Bowl (1944), Orange Bowl (1954 & 1957), Cotton Bowl (1960), All American Bowl (1989), Hall of Fame Bowl (1994), Belk Bowl (2012) Chick-fil-A Bowl (2013), Hyundai Sun Bowl (2014), Pinstripe Bowl (2015) and Quick Lane Bowl (2017).

Duke – All-Time Bowl Results (5-8)
Rose Bowl – January 2, 1939 – Southern California 7, Duke 3
Rose Bowl – January 1, 1942 – Oregon State 20, Duke 16
Sugar Bowl – January 1, 1945 – Duke 29, Alabama 26
Orange Bowl – January 1, 1955 – Duke 34, Nebraska 7
Orange Bowl – January 1, 1958 – Oklahoma 48, Duke 21
Cotton Bowl – January 2, 1961 – Duke 7, Arkansas 6
All American Bowl – December 28, 1989 – Texas Tech 49, Duke 21
Hall of Fame Bowl – January 2, 1995 – Wisconsin 34, Duke 20
Belk Bowl – December 27, 2012 – Cincinnati 48, Duke 34
Chick-fil-A Bowl – December 31, 2013 – Texas A&M 52, Duke 48
Hyundai Sun Bowl – December 27, 2014 – Arizona State 36, Duke 31
Pinstripe Bowl – December 26, 2015 – Duke 44, Indiana 41 (OT)
Quick Lane Bowl – December 26, 2017 – Duke 36, Northern Illinois 14

WAKE FOREST

Wake Forest has received an invitation to play Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl at legendary Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. on Saturday, Dec. 22. The game will kickoff at 11 a.m. CST (noon EST) and will be televised on ESPN. The invitation marks Wake Forest's 13th all-time bowl selection and its third consecutive bowl invite.

For just the second time in school history, Wake Forest will play in a bowl game in three consecutive seasons.

"On behalf of our entire football program, we are thrilled, honored and excited that the Birmingham Bowl has invited us to play against an excellent University of Memphis team," said Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson. "I've followed Memphis' season all year and they are extremely well-coached."

Wake Forest is 6-6 on the season and 3-5 in the ACC Atlantic Division. The Deacons won four road games and three ACC road games for the first time since 2006. Wake Forest has suffered 13 season-ending injuries including nine on defense. Yet, Wake Forest was able to put together a game plan that allowed the team to win two of its final three games, both on the road, including a 59-7 win at Duke in the regular season finale.

Clawson, in his fifth year at Wake Forest, has led the Demon Deacons to 27 wins during his tenure, the most-ever for a fifth-year Wake Forest head coach.

Wake Forest's offense ranks second in school history in points scored with 390 (32.5 per game) and total offense yards with 5,318 (443.2 per game). The Demon Deacons have set a school record with four 50-point games in 2018 and tied the school record with five games of 500 or more total offense yards.

This will mark the fifth all-time meeting between the Demon Deacons and the Tigers. Wake Forest and Memphis met in four consecutive seasons between 1964-67 with each team winning twice. Wake Forest won the only home game, a 21-7 decision at Bowman Gray Stadium. Memphis won two of the three games played in Memphis.

The 2018 season marks the ninth time in 19 seasons that Clawson has led his team to the postseason. He was 4-3 in three FCS playoff appearances. At Bowling Green, Clawson's team were invited to three bowl games in six seasons. This is Wake Forest's third bowl appearance in Clawson's five years. The Deacons won the 2016 Military Bowl over No. 23 Temple and in 2017 defeated Texas A&M 55-52 at the Belk Bowl in Charlotte.

Wake Forest is 8-4 all-time in bowl games. The Deacons first appeared in the 1946 Gator Bowl and posted a 26-14 win over South Carolina. Wake Forest also appeared in the 1949 Dixie Bowl, the 1979 Tangerine Bowl, 1992 Independence Bowl, the 1999 Aloha Bowl, the 2002 Seattle Bowl, the 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl, the 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl, the 2008 EagleBank Bowl and the 2011 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. In 2016, the Deacons beat No. 23 Temple 34-26 in the Military Bowl to complete a 7-6 campaign. Last year, Wake Forest finished 8-5 following a Belk Bowl win over Texas A&M.

This is Clawson's third Year Five at his four different head coaching stops. He has averaged 8.3 overall wins in Year Five and the 2018 season will mark the second postseason appearance in Year Five.

Tickets are available for purchase through the Wake Forest Ticket office or on-line at WakeForestSports.com/Tickets.