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December 27, 2011

College Football Report - 2011 Bowl Picks - Belk Bowl:

Belk Bowl

Louisville (7-5) vs. North Carolina State (7-5)


8 PM, ESPN, Tuesday, Dec. 27, Charlotte, N.C.

Why Watch: Both teams squeezed their way into the postseason, the Cardinals winning five of their last six and N.C. State pulling off two straight victories to end the season. Tune in to watch defense. The Cardinals, led by former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, have been carried by defensive performances this season. The Wolfpack boast some of the nation’s top individual defensive players.

Who to Watch: Because both teams are about defense, that’s where you’ll find the game changers. For the Cardinals, It won’t be hard to miss senior linebacker Dexter Heyman. The hometown product led the team in tackles (83), tackles for loss (15.5), interceptions (3) and finished tied for second in sacks (4). For NC State, it’s 6-foot-3 corner and Thorpe Award finalist, David Amerson. The sophomore led the nation in interceptions with 11 and tied for fifth with 16 passes broken up.

How it’s Going Down: The Wolfpack clearly appear to be the more rounded team heading into this one. Quarterback Mike Glennon has been a strong contributor at times this season, with a victory over then No. 7 Clemson and a six touchdown performance in the last game of the season against Maryland on his resume. The Cardinals essentially bring a freshman led team, including at the quarterback position where Teddy Bridgewater has manned the position throughout the season. Both schools brought in bowl victories last season, but expect Tom O’Brien’s veteran led team to overcome a young Louisville lineup. It’s also not farfetched to expect another interception or two out of Amerson up against Bridgewater. Pick: North Carolina State 27 – Louisville 16

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