Arizona State looks to beat its third ranked team in four ranked opponents this season when it plays against No. 24 North Carolina State (8-4, 6-2 ACC) in the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas on Friday, Dec. 29.
NC State’s two most impressive wins came against Florida State in September and Louisville two weeks later.
However, its only two matchups against opponents in the current College Football Playoff rankings resulted in a double-digit losses to No. 14 Notre Dame and a one touchdown defeat against top-ranked Clemson
Here are some players to watch:
Quarterback Ryan Finley
Standing at 6-3 and weighing 210 pounds, the Paradise Valley High School alum, has an NFL prototype body with the skill set to match it. In his junior season, Finley completed 288 of 450 passes for 3,200 yards with 16 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Finley has yet to decide if he will stay in school or forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
Running back Nyheim Hines
Hines, another possible NFL draft candidate, racked up 1,040 rushing yards as a junior this season while scoring nine touchdowns on the ground. Hines is also a threat on special teams, as he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Clemson. In addition to football, Hines is also a track star at NC State, who placed third in the ACC in the 100-meter dash, recording a personal best 10.34.
Wide receiver Kelvin Harmon
Harmon, the leading receiver on the Wolfpack, comes into the final game of the season with 993 receiving yards. A tall, strong target at 6-3 213 pounds, had a breakout game against Clemson, recording eight catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. If Harmon can muster seven receiving yards against the Sun Devils, it will be just the third time in NC State school history in which they had a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver.
Defensive end Bradley Chubb
Chubb, a consensus All-American, is the heart and soul of this Wolfpack defense. Chubb could’ve been a first-round pick in the NFL draft last year, but returned to NC State for his senior season, which only boosted his draft stock. Chubb was awarded the Bronko Nagurski and Ted Hendricks awards for the nation’s best defensive lineman, becoming the first Wolfpack player to win either award.
*Editor’s note: Chubb will not play in the Sun Bowl. He told Mark Armstrong of ABC 11 Friday morning.
Defensive end Darian Roseboro
On the opposite side of Chubb, Roseboro has already decided to return for his senior season to get his degree. A big reason for this is a promise Roseboro made to his father, Johnny Roseboro, who passed away mid-season and has been a huge rallying point for the Wolfpack. Roseboro should caused trouble for the ASU offensive line, as he is ranked by Drafttek.com as the No. 9 defensive end in college football eligible for the 2018 draft.
This is only the third meeting between the two teams, with Arizona State winning back in 1960 and the Wolfpack victorious in 1974.