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Vanderbilt bowl X factor

12/31/2012

Before the SEC finally gets its bowl games underway, we're going to take a look at key players in each bowl matchup. Since Vanderbilt starts things off against NC State in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl at noon ET, we'll begin with the Commodores:

X FACTOR

Walker May, RJr., DE: One thing that NC State's offense can do is throw the ball around. Thanks to the arm of senior quarterback Mike Glennon, the Wolfpack are averaging 304 passing yards per game, which ranks second in the ACC. The Commodores have been excellent against the pass, ranking ninth nationally in pass defense. But if Glennon gets time, he can make sure his receivers make plays here and there. He's expected to be one of the first QBs taken in April's NFL draft, after leading the ACC with 3,648 passing yards and finishing second with 30 touchdowns. But when the pressure comes, Glennon has a tendency to get happy feet in the pocket and hurry passes. That's where May comes in. He's a quality pass-rusher, and if he can put some pressure on Glennon, he could create some good opportunities for Vandy's talented secondary. The Commodores haven't intercepted a ton of passes this season, but allowed only four teams to pass for 200-plus yards on them this season. The more disruptive May is, the more chances Glennon has of making mistakes. May has 10.5 tackles for loss, including three sacks, and has defended two passes. Getting Glennon out of rhythm will help the Commodores continue their success against the pass.