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Mississippi State, North Carolina State kick off in Belk Bowl today

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It has been 32 days since both Mississippi State and N.C. State have played.

A month-long preparation for the Belk Bowl ends today as the two teams prepare for kickoff at 2:30 p.m. in Bank of America Stadium.

“Overall, we feel pretty good about things,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “We’ve certainly had a lot of fun here and had a good week of preparation. Now it’s got to translate into performance out there on the field.”

The Belk Bowl site in Charlotte is just 2 1/2 hours away from N.C. State’s campus in Raleigh. A total of 10 players on the Wolfpack roster call the Queen City home.

N.C. State has practiced at two local high schools – Mallard Creek and Charlotte Country Day – during the week and also the same off-field excursions as the Bulldogs.

“Our players have had a businesslike mentality,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. “Before we came down here, I told our players I was going to set a schedule that allows them to have free time to have fun but also has work time in it and they need to take advantage of both.”

HIGHLY TOUTED QBs

The Belk Bowl will match two senior signal callers with similar styles in Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and N.C. State’s Jacoby Brissett.

Both quarterbacks have thrown only four interceptions on the year with Prescott passing for 3,413 yards and 25 touchdowns and Brissett for 2,448 yards and 19 scores.

“Dak Prescott is a great player and anytime you play a team that has a quarterback with his experience and production, he’s going to be the reason they’re that good,” Doeren said. “They have good players around him but a quarterback like him makes everybody better.”

Brissett is a 6-foot-4, 235-pound former four-star prospect that signed and started three games in two seasons at Florida before transferring to N.C. State. He was rated the nation’s No. 3 quarterback in the 2011 class by Rivals.com.

“He’s a playmaker and one of the highly touted quarterbacks in my recruiting class,” Prescott said. “He’s a gunslinger and does a good job. I’m excited for my team to take on his.”

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY 

The forecast for Charlotte during the Belk Bowl calls for thunderstorms and a 60 percent chance of rain at kickoff.

MSU has played in wet conditions already this season overcoming torrential downpours at Missouri for a 31-13 victory. If the circumstances arise again in the Belk Bowl, Prescott plans to be prepared.

“In wet games, you just try to keep your hands dry and not think about it,” Prescott said. “As crazy as it sounds, you just grip the ball and throw it like you normally would.”

Against Missouri, Prescott completed 27 of 40 passes for 303 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

BY LOGAN LOWERY, DAILY JOURNAL