NC State Wins 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl Behind Big Days From Samuels; Moore
The NC State Wolfpack used a record-setting performance from junior Jaylen Samuels to win the 41st Camping World Independence Bowl 41-17 against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Samuels caught six passes for 104 yards and an Independence Bowl record three touchdowns to help pace a big scoring night for NC State (7-6, 3-5). Samuels earned Offensive Player of the Game honors.
Quarterback Ryan Finley completed 19 of 30 passes for 235 yards and the three touchdowns to Samuels.
After Vanderbilt narrowed the margin to 28-17 in the fourth quarter, sophomore Nyheim Hines contributed a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown, tying the Independence Bowl record set by Michigan State’s Derrick Mason in 1995. Along with 69 receiving yards and four rushing yards, he is tied for 10th in Independence Bowl history with 191 all-purpose yards.
“We said at some point, momentum’s going to swing their way,” NC State coach Dave Doeren said. “Somebody in this room needs to swing it back, and Nyheim did that with that return. They had the (punt) return that went 70-something yards, and then they scored the touchdown.
“ We turned around and swung it back the other way. They never got anything going after that. That’s what you have to do if you want to win.
Defensively, the Wolfpack smothered the Vanderbilt (6-7, 3-5) offense, holding the Commodores to 314 yards, while racking up five sacks and seven tackles for loss.
Junior linebacker Airius Moore earned Defensive Player of the Game with a nine tackle, two sack effort, while also breaking up two passes.
Running back Ralph Webb delivered another solid outing for the Commodores, rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries against the nation’s fifth-best rush defense. In the process, he set the Vanderbilt single-season rushing mark.
Despite Webb’s performance, the Commodores were playing from behind, and quarterback Kyle Shurmur threw 46 passes, completing 19 for 158 yards and three interceptions.
“I give credit to NC State. I thought they did a great job of controlling the game throughout the day,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. “Their front seven or eight – they dropped safeties in the box – did a good job tackling. Conversely, we didn’t do as good of a job tackling. Our edges were soft at times, and that led to explosive plays.”
Safety Arnold Tarpley had a big day defensively, racking up 12 tackles, including one for loss, while also forcing a fumble and gathering the recovery.
With the win from NC State, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s record in the Independence Bowl is now 4-5-1. With Vanderbilt’s loss, the all-time Southeastern Conference record is 14-4.