Similar ‘States’ of Football

NC State and Mississippi State—frequent research partners and two of the nation’s top land-grant universities—have been in this situation before: preparing to face each other in a college football postseason game.

The two teams—both of which like to call themselves simply “State”—squared off in the 1963 Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia and the 1995 Peach Bowl in Atlanta. The Bulldogs won the first game, 16-14 in frigid Municipal Stadium in front of a sparse crowd of 8,308 spectators in the 102,000-seat stadium.

The Wolfpack silenced MSU’s Cowbell Choir in the second game with a 28-24 victory in the sold-out Georgia Dome in front of 64,902 spectators.

On Dec. 30, the two infrequent foes will face each other again in the 2015 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The 3:30 p.m. kickoff will be televised by ESPN.

So far, ticket sales have been brisk, especially in North Carolina through the NC State Athletics Ticket Office, which has requested additional lower-level tickets to satisfy fan requests. Some tickets are still available through athletics.

While this is the third time the two “States” have faced each other in the post season, they haven’t met in the regular season since before World War II. The Wolfpack won back-to-back games in 1930-31 in Raleigh and Starkville and the Bulldogs won in Raleigh in 1940.

Not long from now, however, the programs will become more familiar, thanks to a home-and-home series announced last year that will bring Mississippi State to Carter-Finley Stadium in 2020 and take the Wolfpack to Davis Wade Stadium in 2021.

Hear what third-year NC State football coach Dave Doeren has to say about the game.

“I think both schools have a tradition of what their programs are about,” Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren said on Tuesday. “It starts with the academic end of it. I think when you go back to the beginning and when they were founded and what type of schools they were when they were founded. I have said a lot about what I think State stands for.

“They believe in those kind of values too.”

Keep up with the two teams as the game approaches on GoPack.com’s Belk Bowl Central page.

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