DUKE’s MAYO BOWL 2022: Last N.C. State appearance came in 2015 when both QBs would become NFL starting quarterbacks

By Richard Walker

The last time N.C. State played in Charlotte’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl, the starting quarterback for each team would start their next games as NFL rookies.

Future NFL starting quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett of N.C. State and Dak Prescott of Mississippi State pose for pictures before the 2015 Belk Bowl at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

This year’s starters – N.C. State will start one of its two freshmen (M.J. Morris or Ben Finley) and Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa has started all year for the Terrapins – are expected to return to their respective programs next season.

That 2015 matchup is another indication of the rich but brief history the bowl game has since it began in 2002 three sponsor’s title names ago.

From 2002 to 2004, Continental Tire got the bowl off the ground. Then Meineke Car Care was the title sponsor from 2005 to 2010 and Belk’s was the sponsor from 2011 to 2019 before Duke’s Mayo had its first ever appearance during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The ACC sent a team to play in all 20 of the games and in 2004 Boston College played its final game as a Big East Conference school before joining the ACC the next season. Future ACC schools Pittsburgh and Louisville also have played as Big East Conference teams.

The SEC, Big Ten and then-independent Navy also have played in the contest.

North Carolina has played in the game the most (5 times) and also lost the most (1-4 record) while Virginia (3-0) is unbeaten. N.C. State and Wake Forest are close behind the Cavaliers with 2-1 records.

Mario Williams, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, led N.C. State to a 14-0 shutout win over South Florida in 2005. All-time NFL receiving great Larry Fitzgerald’s last collegiate game came for Pittsburgh in a 23-16 loss to Virginia in the 2003 game. Last year, North Carolina’s Sam Howell completed his Tar Heels’ career in which he set virtually every significant passing record in school history in a 38-21 loss to South Carolina.

In the 2015 matchup in Charlotte, Mississippi State was coached by Dan Mullen and entered the game with an 8-4 record behind quarterback Dak Prescott. Ranked No. 1 in the inaugural College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings in 2014, the Bulldogs followed that season up with losses to LSU, Texas A&M, eventual CFP champion Alabama and rival Mississippi.

With Prescott throwing three TD passes and directing a 569-yard offensive attack, the Bulldogs rolled to a 51-28 victory over N.C. State. Mississippi State scored the game’s first 21 points and the Wolfpack got no closer than 10 points (31-21 in the middle of the third quarter).

N.C. State’s rally was led by quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who ran for one TD and passed for another as the Wolfpack amassed 424 yards of total offense that also saw the versatile Jaylen Samuels scored two touchdowns in his hometown of Charlotte.

Four months later, Prescott was a fourth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys and would become that franchise’s starting quarterback at the outset of the 2016 season following an injury to previous starter Tony Romo.

The 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and a two-time Pro Bowler, Prescott entered the Cowboys’ Thursday night game against the Tennessee Titans with a 60-35 record as NFL starting quarterback in the regular season and is 1-3 in the playoffs.

Brissett also was selected in the NFL Draft and also started his NFL debut.

A third round pick of the New England Patriots, Brissett played in the first three games of the year – getting two starts – as Patriots’ opening game starter Jimmy Garoppolo injured his shoulder and longtime starter Tom Brady was suspended four games for his role in the NFL’s “Deflategate” controversy.

Brissett was later traded to the Indianapolis Colts and later also played for the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns. Entering this weekend’s games, Brissett had an 18-30 all-time NFL quarterbacking record that includes a 26-24 win for the Browns over the Carolina Panthers in their 2022 NFL regular season opener.

Here’s all of the previous Duke’s Mayo’s Bowl with date, title sponsor, final score and game attendance at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.:

Dec. 28, 2002 (Continental Tire Bowl) — Virginia 48, West Virginia 22 (73,535)
Dec. 27, 2003 (Continental Tire Bowl) — Virginia 23, Pittsburgh 16 (51,236)
Dec. 30, 2004 (Continental Tire Bowl) — Boston College 37, North Carolina 24 (70,412)
Dec. 31, 2005 (Meineke Car Care Bowl) — N.C. State 14, South Florida 0 (57.937)
Dec. 30, 2006 (Meineke Car Care Bowl) — Boston College 25, Navy 24 (52,303)
Dec. 29, 2007 (Meineke Car Care Bowl) — Wake Forest 24, Connecticut 10 (53,126)
Dec. 27, 2008 (Meineke Car Care Bowl) — West Virginia 31, North Carolina 30 (73,712)
Dec. 26, 2009 (Meineke Car Care Bowl) — Pittsburgh 19, North Carolina 17 (50,389)
Dec. 31, 2010 (Meineke Car Care Bowl) — South Florida 31, Clemson 26 (41,122)
Dec. 27, 2011 (Belk Bowl) — N.C. State 31, Louisville 24 (58,427)
Dec. 27, 2012 (Belk Bowl) — Cincinnati 48, Duke 34 (48,128)
Dec. 28, 2013 (Belk Bowl) — North Carolina 39, Cincinnati 17 (45,211)
Dec. 29, 2014 (Belk Bowl) — Georgia 37, Louisville 14 (45,671)
Dec. 30, 2015 (Belk Bowl) — Mississippi State 51, N.C. State 28 (46,423)
Dec. 29, 2016 (Belk Bowl) — Virginia Tech 35, Arkansas 24 (46,902)
Dec. 29, 2017 (Belk Bowl) — Wake Forest 55, Texas A&M 52 (32,784)
Dec. 29, 2018 (Belk Bowl) — Virginia 28, South Carolina 0 (48,263)
Dec. 31, 2019 (Belk Bowl) — Kentucky 37, Virginia Tech 30 (44,138)
Dec. 30, 2020 (Duke’s Mayo Bowl) — Wisconsin 42, Wake Forest 28 (1,500-COVID-19 restricted)
Dec. 30, 2021 (Duke’s Mayo Bowl) — South Carolina 38, North Carolina 21 (45,520)
Dec. 30, 2022 (Duke’s Mayo Bowl) — Maryland vs. N.C. State