The North Carolina State Wolfpack (7-5) will take on the UCF Knights (9-3) at the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, located at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Boxing Day, Dec. 26. Viewers can watch online the game via live stream - free for subscribers - below.
The Associated Press reported that although the St. Petersburg Bowl may have less national prestige compared to the Fiesta Bowl, Central Florida is looking forward to the matchup against North Carolina State. That's because although Blake Bortles has left the team to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL, UCF coach George O'Leary feels honored that his team made it to a bowl game.
"After a 9-3 season, we are very happy to go to the St. Petersburg Bowl," O'Leary said. "Obviously a bowl game is a great reward for the players, the program and the fan base. We are very anxious to get to St. Petersburg and enjoy the bowl and its festivities. It will be a great experience for our players and fans."
The Associated Press noted that UCF won their last three bowl games.
"That's the second conference championship in a row. That's the first time in school history," O'Leary said. "That's great for the players and I'm so happy for them."
According to Mark Ross of Athlon Sports, UCF's key to victory will involve playing to their strengths. Although Bortles and rusher Storm Johnson are no longer on the roster, O'Leary has helped take his team to the next level.
"UCF finished 2013 29th in the nation in total defense," Ross wrote. "This season the Knights enter this game ranked third, behind only Clemson and Penn State. They have been difficult to run on (97.4 ypg, 5th) and have allowed just three teams (Missouri, UConn and East Carolina) to score 30 or more points."
In order to dash the dreams of a fourth bowl win by UCF, Ross argued that North Carolina State's key to victory lied in establishing the run. Transfer quarterback Jacoby Brissett will be the one to help his team do just that, given that he has put together a solid season.
"He has 22 touchdown passes and just five interceptions, but this offense has been most successful when the emphasis has been on running the football," Ross wrote. "Brissett is second on the team with 498 yards rushing, one of four players with at least 282."
The Associated Press reported that N.C. State is just simply excited to qualify for a bowl game at all. Thanks to the leadership of coach Dave Doeren, the Wolfpack won three of their last four games to become bowl eligible.
"We are both excited and thankful for the opportunity to play in the St. Petersburg Bowl," Doeren said. "We know that the N.C. State fan base will enjoy the opportunity to support their Wolfpack in a great city."
The Associated Press noted that this game will be the first meeting between the schools since Sept. 11, 2010, when the Wolfpack won a road game over UCF 28-21.
Friday's game will be broadcasted on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET. While online viewers can stream the game through WatchESPN.com or via the WatchESPN app for various devices, both options require a cable subscription and login.