Derek Mason’s first postseason appearance as a head coach will be at the Independence Bowl. Vanderbilt will play North Carolina State in Shreveport, LA on December 26.
Independence Bowl - NC State vs. Vanderbilt— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 4, 2016
The bid is Vanderbilt’s first bowl game since winning the 2014 BBVA Compass Bowl over Houston 41-24. It’s the Commodores’ fourth postseason appearance in the past six seasons but only the program’s eighth bowl ever. The team is 4-2-1 in the postseason all time.
One of those wins came over NC State. The ‘Dores beat the Wolfpack 38-24 in the 2012 Music City Bowl. Zac Stacy, who just had his school all-time rushing record erased by Ralph Webb, was named MVP of that game.
Vandy rallied to the postseason despite being 2-4 and then 4-6 on the season. A Week 12 win over Ole Miss put the ‘Dores in great position to make a bowl game thanks to their high APR score and the fact there are more bowl slots available than eligible teams. A Week 13 win over Tennessee made that a moot point. The Commodores came from behind to topple the Volunteers 45-34 in the biggest win of the Mason era.
Mason can tie the total amount of wins he had in his first two seasons on the sideline with an Independence Bowl victory. NC State should be able to give the Commodores a challenge, but will have plenty to prove. The Wolfpack went 6-6 this fall but beat only two bowl eligible teams — Wake Forest and North Carolina— in the process.
Vanderbilt currently leads the all-time series between these two teams, 2-0. The only non-postseason time these two have squared off took place back in 1946. The Commodores won that game 7-0.