North Carolina State (6-5) vs. No. 23 Southern Mississippi (8-3) Where: Birmingham, Ala.
When: Tonight, 8.
N.C. State outlook: The Wolfpack offense is directed by QB Terry Jordan, 101 of 179 for 1,221 yards and six touchdowns. The Wolfpack ground attack is rush by committee, with FB Greg Manior 406 yards on 97 carries for 4.2 yards per carry. Gary Downs ranks second with 397 yards on 94 carries for 4.2 yards per carry. The Wolfpack defense has given up only 277.6 yards per game (109.6 rushing, 168.0 passing). Dick Sheridan, who has taken the Wolfpack to a bowl in four of his five seasons as head coach, has a 33-23-2 career record at N.C. State.
Southern Mississippi outlook: Curley Hallman, who has left to coach Louisiana State, had a record year with the Golden Eagles, leading them to victories over Alabama, 27-24, and Auburn, 13-12. Jeff Bower was named to replace Hallman. Bower was an assistant coach at Southern Mississippi until he left this year to take the offensive coordinator's job at Oklahoma State. This will be Bower's first game as a collegiate head coach. The Golden Eagles are led by quarterback Brett Favre, who holds the school career records with 613 completions, 1,169 attempts for 7,695 yards and 52 touchdowns. For the year, Favre has completed 150 of 275 for 1,572 yards and seven touchdowns.