As I was finishing up this entry, I noticed that LRM had just put an entry up that talked about the house of horrors known as Groves Stadium. This article discusses the last ten years between State and Wake, and that house of horrors.
This Saturday, Dave Doeren’s first Wolfpack team leaves the friendly confines of Carter-Finley Stadium for the first time. They travel down I-40 to meet Big Four rival Wake Forest. I thought it would be a good idea to quickly look back at the last 10 meetings of the two teams. You would think that this entry would be filled with lots of Wolfpack wins. I mean, it is Wake Forest. But for some reason that I cannot understand or fathom, Groves Stadium has become some sort of a house of horrors for NC State football. When I started thinking about this, I only could think of one recent comparison for another team’s house of horrors. Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio is the house of horrors for Mexico in regards to the US-Mexico soccer rivalry. Google “Dos a cero” for more information.
Here is a quick recap of the last 10 meetings in the rivalry:
2012: Raleigh. NC State 37, Wake Forest 6
Going into this game, State needed one win in their last 3 to get bowl eligible. They didn’t waste any time, jumping on Wake Forest 17-0 in the first quarter and cruising to an easy victory. The play of the game was the second half kickoff when Tobias Palmer ran for a 100 yard touchdown. Mike Glennon had a good day passing for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns. Shadrach Thornton ran for 110 yards as well as the Pack came back from a listless performance the week before against Virginia.
2011: Winston-Salem. Wake Forest 34, NC State 27
The first road game in the Mike Glennon era was not a resounding success. Glennon, although he had good numbers with 315 yards passing and 3 TDs, struggled early as could be expected, with his first road, and also first ACC road, start. Wake jumped out to a 27-6 lead early in the 3rd quarter. After that, the Wolfpack’s passing game began to come to life with a couple of 60+ yard touchdowns that brought the game back to a one score affair. Unfortunately, the Demon Deacon defense turned the Wolfpack offense over on downs with less than 3 minutes remaining to preserve the conference victory. Tanner Price had a very good game and was the most important player for Wake’s offense.
2010: Raleigh. NC State 38, Wake Forest 3
On Senior Day, and what turned out to be Russell Wilson’s last home game, the Wolfpack blew out Wake Forest 38-3. Wilson threw for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns while also being the team’s leading rusher, albeit with a pedestrian 17 yards. But in those 17 rushing yards contained two rushing touchdowns. The defense harassed Tanner Price all day, holding him to 69 yards passing. This game kept the Pack in control of their destiny in the Atlantic Division.
2009: Winston-Salem. Wake Forest 30, NC State 24
In a battle of top tier quarterbacks, Riley Skinner got the best of Russell Wilson and Wake beat State 30-24. Wilson had his interception free streak end on this day at 379 passes by throwing a pick on a 1st and 35 play in the first quarter. Wilson and the Pack were behind the eight ball all game. Every time they would creep back into the game, making it a one possession game, Skinner would lead the Deacons down the field for another score. Wilson passed for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns, but also two interceptions. The last one was the heartbreaker though. Wilson threw an interception in the end zone with two minutes left when State was driving for the possible game winning touchdown.
2008: Raleigh. NC State 21, Wake Forest 17
Russell Wilson continued his improving play as the Wolfpack upset #24 Wake Forest 21-17. It stopped a three game losing streak to the Demon Deacons. Wilson threw for 157 yards and had two touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown, as part of his team leading 69 rushing yards. He accounted for every touchdown by the Wolfpack. The Pack sealed the victory with a sack of Skinner at the State 27 yard line with 39 seconds left on fourth down.
2007: Winston-Salem. Wake Forest 38, NC State 18
With the Wolfpack riding high on a four game winning streak and coming off a victory over North Carolina, the Pack was looking forward to playing Wake Forest with bowl eligibility on the line. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. A dream start for Wake put them up 21-3 at the half. Daniel Evans and Jamelle Eugene lead the comeback with touchdowns in the third quarter to cut the lead to 21-18. Thoughts of a full comeback were extinguished real quickly as Riley Skinner threw a 62 yard touchdown pass 15 seconds later. That play changed momentum and more or less ended the game.
2006: Raleigh. Wake Forest 25, NC State 23
The Wolfpack, flying high after thrilling victories over Boston College and Florida State, was brought back to earth by the eventual ACC champion, Wake Forest, by a score of 25-23. The Demon Deacons showed off their best weapon, kicker Sam Swank, who had not one, not two, but three 50+ yard field goals. Daniel Evans could not finish off another home game with display of stealing victory from defeat. After cutting the score to 25-23 with 5 minutes to go, a pass from Evans to Anthony Hill did not result in a two-point conversion. Then, in the final minute, Evans was driving the offense down the field for a possible John Deraney field goal to win it. However, Evans had his first big mistake of the game when he threw an interception in Wake Forest territory to seal the first victory for Wake Forest in Raleigh since 1984. This also was the first loss in a 7 game losing streak for NC State which resulted in Chuck Amato losing his job.
2005: Winston-Salem. Wake Forest 27, NC State 19
The Pack came into this game at a crossroads. There was trouble at the quarterback position and fanbase wanted to replace Jay Davis with Marcus Stone. After a first quarter Davis interception that was returned for a touchdown, Stone came into the game. Unfortunately, it was not the panacea for the team. Stone did throw a touchdown pass near halftime that put the Pack back into the game, only down 13-9 at the half. After another early touchdown pass in the third quarter from Stone, the Pack was up 19-13 and Groves Stadium was sounding like Carter-Finley. Alas, the offense would not score any more points and wound up losing 27-19 to the Demon Deacons. One oddity about this game. Wake’s punter, Ryan Plackemeier had punts of 71 and 82 yards. When is the last time you have heard of a punter having two 70+ yard punts in the same game.
2004: Raleigh. NC State 27, Wake Forest 21
This was a game of two halves. The first half had the Demon Deacons dominating the Wolfpack and lead 14-0 at the half. The third quarter started and the Pack came alive. A 57 yard strike from Jay Davis to Sterling Hicks, a T.A. McLendon TD run, and a Bobby Washington TD run put the Wolfpack up 21-14 at the end of the quarter. The Deacons tied it up early in the fourth quarter and turned the affair into the first ever overtime game between the two teams. In overtime, Wake missed a field goal and the Pack then got the ball. They told McLendon to go score a touchdown and that is what he did. He rushed all four plays and scored on an eight yard burst through the defense to give the Wolfpack an overtime victory.
2003: Winston Salem. Wake Forest 38, NC State 24
With the much anticipated showdown with Ohio State a week away, the 11th ranked Pack appeared to be looking past Wake Forest. And before you knew it, NC State was down 28-3. As much as Philip Rivers would throw for yards, a couple of picks and a team load of penalties made a comeback impossible. Rivers threw for a career high 433 yards. Part of that was due to a last minute scratch of T.A. McLendon, who slipped and fell late during the week at the team lounge. Wake Forest played pretty well and did not make any mistakes. Their job was made easier by the Wolfpack’s inability to not make mistakes. This loss hurt the worse of any in the past 10 years as everyone (team and fans) were looking forward to a top 10 Wolfpack team going to the Shoe and playing the defending national champion Buckeyes.
Before I looked into this, if you had told me that Wake would have a 6-4 series lead in the last 10 games, I would not have believed you. But there it is. Groves Stadium is a house of horrors for the Wolfpack. In fact, NC State has only won one game (2001) in Winston-Salem since 1996. To understand how long it has been since the Pack has won at Wake Forest, here is a list of teams NC State has beaten since the 2001 win at Groves Stadium:
Florida State **First ACC team to ever win against the Seminoles in Tallahassee
Since 2001, the Wolfpack have won at every ACC venue except Wake Forest and Boston College (who joined the league in 2005). Sometimes real life defies logic.
This year’s Wolfpack team has a chance to be the team that stops the Groves Stadium hex. This is not your older brother’s Wake Forest team. Even with a young team with a quarterback going on the road for the first time in the ACC, the Wolfpack has a good chance of getting on the bus to come back to Raleigh with a 4-1 record. Let’s go get a win on Saturday.