Tuesday, December 27, 2016

North Carolina State wins 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl with 41-17 win over Vanderbilt

Jaylen Samuels (1) scored two touchdowns in the
first half and another in the second half
for the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA (December 26, 2016) Tight end Jaylen Samuels score two touchdowns in the first half and another in the third quarter to lead the North Carolina State Wolfpack to a 41-17 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores at the 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana on Monday, December 26, 2016. The three touchdowns by Samuels established a new bowl game record for Most Receiving Touchdowns in a game. The previous record of two was shared by six players, and was set or tied beginning in 1981 and continuing to 2013. The win allowed the Wolfpack to raise their record to 7-6 while Commodores dropped to 6-7. 
Samuels, who caught three passes for 104 yards and the three touchdowns was selected as the game’s Most Valuable Offensive Player by a vote of the credentialed media. 

Jaylen Samuels (right) and Airius Moore
were selected the MVPs of the game.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
After close to nine minutes of give-and-take football, Vanderbilt got on the scoreboard with field goal by Tommy Openshaw at the 6:06 mark of the first quarter. The 52-yarder, which tied the red-shirt junior’s season best, broke the existing bowl game record of 50 yards. The record was jointly held by Missouri’s Adam Crossett and Texas A&M’s David Hardy. Hardy established the record in 1981 against Ohio State, with Crossett matching the performance in 2005 versus South Carolina. Hardy booted the record setting field goal in the third quarter of the game, in which he was successful with four field goals and three extra points. Crossett tied the record in the fourth quarter of the game. Three minutes later, the Wolfpack took the lead with a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Finley to Samuels and a kicking conversion by Conner Haskins. The drive covered 41 yards in seven plays and took 3:30 off the clock. Samuels add his second TD pass of the game, a 55-yard reception, again from Finley, cap a four-play, 81-yard drive that lasted 50 seconds.

North Carolina State increased their lead after 3:10 in the third quarter when running back Reggie Gallaspy II carried the ball the final four yards on an 18-yard drive for the Wolfpack’s third touchdown, with Haskins taking on the extra point. NC State received the ball at the beginning of the drive when safety Josh Jones picked off a Kyle Shurmur pass at the Vanderbilt 43-yard line. Jones return the interception to the Vanderbilt 18-yard line to kick off the drive which lasted four plays and took 1:42.

The Commodores added seven points to score on a 30-yard touchdown run by running back Ralph Webb and an extra point by Openshaw with 55 seconds left in the third quarter, to cut the Wolfpack lead to 28-10. Vanderbilt added another rushing touchdown with 10:37 left in the game on a one-yard touchdown by running back Khari Blasingame, and another extra point by Openshaw, to make the score 28-17. On the ensuing kickoff, Nyhein Hines took the return 100 yards for the score. The Wolfpack concluded their scoring frenzy with a 32-yard AIRFAT (an interception returned for a touchdown) with no time left on the clock. NC State head coach Dave Doeren talked about Himes’ interceptions, and what was discussed at halftime, with the press after the game.

“We said at some point, momentum’s going to swing their way. Somebody in this room needs to swing it back, and Nyhein did that with that return. They had the (punt) return that went 70-something yards and then they scored the touchdown. We turned around and swung it back the other way. They never got anything going after that. That’s what you have to do if you want to win.”

Defensively, Airius Moore tallied nine tackles, eight of them solo, while sacking the opposing quarterback twice for an 11-yards. In addition, he tallied two of his tackles for an 11-yard loss and broke up two Vanderbilt plays. Because of his play, he received the Most Valuable Defensive Player Award.

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