The 23 rd ranked NC State Wolfpack return to familiar territory over the weekend as they travel to Jacksonville, Florida for an ACC/SEC showdown in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl versus the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday January 2. Kickoff is slated for 12 pm on ESPN.
The Wolfpack enter the contest with an 8-3 record overall while finishing with a program record seven ACC wins. In their last outing, NC State defeated Georgia Tech 23-13 on December 5 extending their winning streak to four games.
Kentucky heads to Jacksonville 4-6 overall with a matching SEC record. The Wildcats are coming off a 41- 18 victory over South Carolina on December 5 closing out their regular season. That win ended a two game losing skid for Kentucky after dropping back-to-back contest against nationally ranked Alabama and Florida.
• The 2020 Wolfpack squad set a new record with seven ACC victories. In 68 ACC seasons, the most league wins ever posted by an NC State squad was six.
• The Wolfpack has now posted two nine-win seasons and two eight-win seasons under Doeren with one game left to play.
• NC State closed the season with four straight wins. That’s the most consecutive wins to close out a regular season since 2008.
• Junior PK Christopher Dunn broke the school record for career field goals in the win over Georgia Tech (he now has 56, the record was 55).
• NC State offensive coordinator Tim Beck and Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops were high school teammates at Cardinal Mooney in Youngstown, Ohio.
• This is Kentucky’s second appearance in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl during that stretch. The Wildcats began their five-year bowl run in Jacksonville on Dec. 31, 2016, a 33-18 loss to Georgia Tech.
• The Cats have had much better success recently, winning each of their past two bowl games: Defeating Penn State, 27-24, on Jan. 1, 2019, in the VRBO Citrus Bowl and Virginia Tech, 37-30, in last season’s thrilling Belk Bowl.
• The Cats are one of only two teams in the country to have played four opponents who were ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game: No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Florida and No. 8 Auburn. Three of those games were on the road.
• In his last two games, quarterback Bailey Hockman has completed 46 of 67 passes for 622 yards, a .687 completion percentage and has thrown for four TDs with just one interception. His passing efficiency and completion percentage marks this season rank fourth and seventh respectively in school history.