Flashback: Playing in a dome

Does anyone remember the last time we played in a dome?

One storyline for the Tennessee game is that State doesn’t often play on artificial turf and rarely plays in a dome; it’s probably the same for Tennessee. In the ACC, only Wake Forest and Boston College have field turf, and the only other games on artificial turf under TOB were the 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl, 2010 Champs Sports Bowl and at Cincinnati last season; in the SEC, only Arkansas and Ole Miss (and now Missouri) have field turf, and they’re in the SEC West, outside the regular rotation for the Vols.

Now, the answer: the season opener at Syracuse on August 31, 1997. Syracuse was ranked 13th and fresh off a 34-0 thumping of Wisconsin in one of those long-past kickoff classics, while State was coming off a 3-8 season in 1996 and had then-relative unknowns named Jamie Barnette and Torry Holt (NY Times):

Paul Pasqualoni had warned his Syracuse players all week not to live on the memory of their thrashing of Wisconsin in the Kickoff Classic. He warned them not to look at North Carolina State’s 3-8 record of 1996. He warned his team and he warned the news media, telling anyone who would listen that things were not going to be as easy as it looked in the opener.

But, unfortunately for the 13th-ranked Orangemen, they did not seem to believe Pasqualoni until it was too late. And that time came in overtime with the heavy favorites suddenly scrambling to face a 2-point conversion by the Wolfpack that put the game on the line.

As North Carolina State lined up for the 2-point conversion to go for the victory, passing up the safe point after, the Wolfpack could see the fear and confusion in the eyes of the Syracuse defenders. That made the pass from Jamie Barnette to Torry Holt, who was streaking into the left corner of the end zone, almost a formality, capping a 32-31 upset that the Wolfpack knew it had as soon as it hit the line of scrimmage.

”Two plays before we scored, I said we’re going for 2,” North Carolina State Coach Mike O’Cain said. ”I didn’t know what defense they would be in, but what I felt was they weren’t confident. They’re thinking: ‘We just got hit. We just got a touchdown scored against us. This game should have been over a long time ago. This game shouldn’t be like this.’

”They were not a confident team at that point, and it was the time to attack them.”

The Wolfpack never rolled over, despite the low expectations, even within the program where O’Cain has conceded that he would step down if troubles continued the way they had in his first four seasons.

They battled back from deficits of 14-0 and 17-10, and came back again when the Orangemen came up with a 73-yard touchdown on a punt return with 9 minutes 51 seconds to play.

And they were facing elimination in the final minute of regulation when Syracuse pushed down to the 2-yard line with 30 seconds left.

But when Pasqualoni opted to give the ball to the freshman Dee Brown instead of leaving it in the hands of the Heisman candidate Donovan McNabb or the blue-chip fullback Rob Konrad, Brown tried to reach over the goal line and Tony Scott stripped the ball out of his hands. The Wolfpack recovered and ran out the clock, forcing the extra session.

”I never think it’s over,” Barnette said. ”I think you’ve got a shot, whether they’re on the one or we’re behind or whatever. I was just praying for the defense to come up with some kind of play to give us another chance to win.”

The dome game before that? The 1995 Peach Bowl victory over Mississippi State at the Georgia Dome.

About LRM

Charter member of the Lunatic Fringe and a fan, loyal to a fault.

Flashback NCS Football

17 Responses to Flashback: Playing in a dome

  1. 4in12 08/28/2012 at 8:51 AM #

    Add UMd to the list:


  2. triadwolf 08/28/2012 at 9:08 AM #

    Trouble in domes?

    Southern Miss in the Peach Bowl – solid win

    Syracuse in the snow dome – win

  3. Wufpacker 08/28/2012 at 9:10 AM #

    Two of MOC’s high water marks.

    Both were great games and it just so happens I was in attendance at both. The ‘Cuse fans lacked just as much confidence as their team prior to that conversion, btw. Also, after the game many were heard saying they’d get us the following year. But they didn’t.

    Even in defeat, the Miss. St. fans wouldn’t stop with their damn cowbells. Not fun in a dome.

  4. triadwolf 08/28/2012 at 9:16 AM #

    As I think back to that series with Syracuse, I compare that a little with the recent streak against the holes – both arrogant, more talented and entitled.

    I think we should welcome Syracuse to the league with open arms and add another bitch to our schedule. Although it won’t be quite as satisfying as it was when Syracuse was a decently good program.

  5. Wufpacker 08/28/2012 at 11:46 AM #

    Whoa. Thought I was in the wrong place for a sec.

  6. imawolf 08/28/2012 at 12:06 PM #

    I remember that game very well. The Pack is 5-0 all time against Syracuse.

  7. EasternWakeWolf 08/28/2012 at 12:09 PM #

    Caridnal Gibbons was nice enough to let us practice on their artificial turf yesterday, so hopefully it won’t be totally foreign to us.
    Like the new look of the website. Agree with wufpacker . . thought I was in the wrong place!

  8. Texpack 08/28/2012 at 1:18 PM #

    The greatest win in the history of the program took place in a dome, The Astrodome.

    Fear not the covered field!

  9. lawful 08/28/2012 at 2:12 PM #

    uhhhh…what happened to the webpage?

  10. howlie 08/28/2012 at 2:34 PM #

    NICE new clean look.

  11. hoop 08/28/2012 at 3:55 PM #

    The look is good!

  12. virginiawolf 08/28/2012 at 4:02 PM #

    I like the old page much better … at least you could follow a thread.

  13. tobaccordshow 08/28/2012 at 4:08 PM #

    virginiawolf, what are your issues exactly? It’s the same format (comments) as the old site. It’s presented in a wide format now, but it’s the exact same ordering, exact same placement.

  14. virginiawolf 08/28/2012 at 4:46 PM #

    Tobacco, guess i was being lazy … I had not noticed the “reply” button on the far right side … and it appears YOU are the first to use it. So, I’ll shut up and continue on down the road.

  15. tobaccordshow 08/28/2012 at 4:50 PM #

    Ha, no worries. You didn’t notice it because it wasn’t there. I literally turned it on when I saw your comment.

  16. Icabod61 08/28/2012 at 8:42 PM #

    cowbells aside… all the Miss.St fans i encountered were very complimentary of NCSU and congratulaory to a game well played. but the most memorable encounter of all took place the next morning on the elevator on our way to check out. a couple of adults with kids, all Miss St fans, joined us for the ride down. one of the dads says “congrats on a good game. and thanks for being good fans in winning. we played unc last year and those were the most obnoxious fans we’ve ever encountered in college football”. my hangover seemed to instantly dissappear as we replied “we know”.

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