West Virginia will face North Carolina State in the Champs Sports Bowl to be played at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010, the bowl announced Sunday evening.
West Virginia is the No. 2 selection from the Big East Conference and NC State is the No. 3 pick from the ACC.
West Virginia (9-3) wrapped up its regular season with a 35-14 victory over Rutgers on Saturday to earn a share of the Big East title with Connecticut and Pitt. The 21st-ranked Mountaineers won four Big East games in a row after a 1-2 start to league play. West Virginia has now either won outright or shared six conference titles since joining the Big East in 1991.
West Virginia’s nine victories this season have come against Coastal Carolina, Marshall, Maryland, UNLV, South Florida, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pitt and Rutgers with its three losses coming against LSU, Syracuse and Connecticut.
Sophomore quarterback Geno Smith has passed for 2,567 yards and 23 touchdowns, completing 65.8 percent of his pass attempts while throwing just six interceptions. He is coming off a career-best 352-yard passing performance against Rutgers yesterday.
NC State (8-4) also has a big-time playmaker at quarterback in junior Russell Wilson, who is completing 280-of-482 passes for 3,288 yards and 26 touchdowns. Most recently, Wilson tried 60 passes in State’s 38-31 loss at Maryland, the quarterback throwing for 311 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson is also a big running threat, gaining 394 yards on the ground with nine touchdowns.
The Wolfpack tied Maryland for second in the ACC Atlantic Division with a 5-3 record. Their eight wins this year have come against Western Carolina, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Florida State, Wake Forest and North Carolina, with their four losses coming against Virginia Tech, East Carolina, Clemson and Maryland.
Former Boston College coach Tom O’Brien wrapped up his fourth season at State and shows a 24-25 record with the Wolfpack. Overall, O’Brien is 99-70 in 14 years as a college head coach.
Bill Stewart has a 28-11 at West Virginia and will be coaching his fourth bowl game for the Mountaineers. Under Stewart’s watch West Virginia defeated Oklahoma in the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, downed North Carolina in the 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl and lost to Florida State in last year’s Gator Bowl.
West Virginia is making its school-record ninth consecutive bowl appearance.
This year’s Champs Sports Bowl will be the third time West Virginia and North Carolina State have met in a bowl game. Twice the two teams played in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta – State defeating the Mountaineers 49-13 in 1972 and West Virginia gaining revenge in 1975 with a 13-10 triumph.
Overall, the schools have met nine times, the last meeting occurring in Morgantown in 1979 with NC State winning 38-14. West Virginia holds a narrow 5-4 advantage in the series.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday, Dec. 6 at 9 a.m. The WVU Alumni Association also has travel packages available.
Available tickets in the WVU allotment are $65 each and can be purchased online at WVUGAME.com, or by calling the Mountaineer Ticket Office at 1-800-WVU GAME.
All 2010 Mountaineer Athletic Club donors and football season ticket holders may place their priority bowl ticket requests online at WVUGAME.com by following the instructions found in the priority bowl mailing they received in November.
This is the first year the Champs Sports Bowl is affiliated with the Big East Conference. The Champs Sports Bowl replaces the Gator Bowl among the conference’s bowl lineup.
The game will kick off at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.
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