Bowl in hand, NC State not shying away from postseason talk

NC State

North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren laughs with quarterback Bailey Hockman (16) after the team’s 38-22 victory over Florida Stateof an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Raleigh, N.C. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP, Pool)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – 2020 has been a challenging year.

But after a rough start that saw N.C. State have to take a two-week pause due to the pandemic, the Wolfpack is poised to have one of its best seasons in years.

“We lost a lot of good players,” explained head coach Dave Doeren. “We’ve gone through a lot as a program and to go from one ACC win to wherever we end up, six times as many wins, seven times whatever that is. Whether that’s a record or not a record, that’s pretty damn good.”

And regardless of what takes place after Saturday’s regular season finale versus Georgia Tech, the Pack will be rewarded for their efforts.

After missing a bowl for the first time in six years a season ago, N.C. State is looking at a very attractive bowl in a few weeks.

Early projections have the Wolfpack traveling to Jacksonville, Florida for the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2.

State would face an SEC opponent possibly – Ole Miss or Missouri.

The Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando on Dec. 29 is also a possible landing spot for the Wolfpack.

There, they would most likely face Oklahoma State from the Big 12.

“I have no control over who we play,” said Doeren. “All I really want to do is try to get to a really good game and have a good time with my guys, try to develop them.”

Surprisingly the Wolfpack is not shying away from talking about the postseason and hasn’t ever since winning their sixth game to become bowl eligible.

“After we won our sixth game, I congratulated the team on being bowl eligible and they went nuts,” revealed Doeren. “It was obviously a goal the team had and I said now the goal is to win out and put yourself in the conversation for the best possible bowl you can get into.”

It’s a far cry from where the Wolfpack was a year ago after a disappointing 4-8 campaign.

“We just want to prove ourselves,” said quarterback Bailey Hockman after Saturday’s win over Syracuse. After last year and the ups and downs and the things that have gone on, I think we deserve it. We just find a way to win and it’s been fun.”

As State gets set for Georgia Tech on Senior Day, the Pack will continue to play the waiting game and that’s just fine with them.

“We have one more game to finish strong,” Doeren stressed. “Then we’ll put it in the committee’s hands-on where we deserve to go.”

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