A look back at the first time the Wolfpack went bowling. (Link)
On Dec. 6, 1946, NC State accepted an invitation to play in the second Gator Bowl, in Jacksonville, Florida, according to a history of NC State maintained by NCSU Libraries. The Wolfpack faced Oklahoma in a New Yearâ€™s Day game in front of 10,134 spectators.
Hopefully, the results will be better for this yearâ€™s team. The Wolfpack, led by Coach Beattie Feathers, lost the 1947 Gator Bowl.
Hereâ€™s an additional bit of trivia for all you ACC football fans: Wake Forest played in the first-ever Gator Bowl, defeating South Carolina.
Holtz leaves NC State to join Jets (Link)
With NC Stateâ€™s recent acceptance of its Belk Bowl invitation, weâ€™d thought it would be interesting to revisit some Wolfpackâ€™s bowl memories. The Peach Bowl, now known as the Chick-fil-A Bowl, was a good place to start since NC State is tied with Clemson at seven for the most appearances by a school in that bowl.
NC State is 4-3 in that bowl, and one of NC Stateâ€™s three losses stands out as more than a defeat. The Wolfpack lost the 1975 Peach Bowl to the West Virginia Mountaineers, 13-10, as Lou Holtz bid adieu to the program.
NC State defeated Bobby Bowdenâ€™s Mountaineers, 49-13, three years earlier in the same contest. But the 1975 Wolfpack team battled injuries and a scoreboard malfunction that caused the referees to keep time on the field and alert the coaches to the clock. As a result, NC State rushed a field goal before half to take a 10-0 lead. However, there was still just under a minute left on the clock, and West Virginia gained momentum by scoring a quick touchdown amid the confusion before halftime.
But the bigger story was that Holtz, who coached the Wolfpack from 1972-75, made his pilgrimage to the NFL after that game, leaving NC State with a record of 33-12-3 while at the helm.
His tenure as head coach of the New York Jets wouldnâ€™t last a full season, and by 1977, he was back in the college ranks, coaching at Arkansas. He went on to coach at Minnesota, Notre Dame (where his team won the 1988 national championship) and South Carolina, his last coaching stop before he became an analyst for ESPN.
Tom Higgins â€™76, a nose guard on that â€˜75 team and now director of officiating for the Canadian Football League, says that Holtz influences him even today because of the coachâ€™s ability to instill belief. â€œHe was a master magician. He had the ability to make people believe. â€¦ He was king of the clichÃ©s, but clichÃ©s have a lot of truth to them,â€ Higgins says. â€œHoltz is in you. You canâ€™t separate that out.â€