I’m a little late to post this, but nonetheless, wanted to touch on a certain person that has gone under noticed.
There were many noteworthy plays and noteworthy individuals who deserve the distinguished honor of tobaccordshow’s game ball, but I’m going to forgo the obvious choices:
- Russell Wilson – Didn’t have the sharpest hand last night. But we all know that when RW isn’t on, it’s difficult to win a game. Russell was on last night, and it was with his ability to make the plays with his feet.
- Nate Irving – Absolute beast last night. Fell on the game clinching fumble.
- Mustafa Greene – Almost everyone else had difficulty with the slippery pitch but Greene was moving as agile as I’ve seen any Wolfpack Running Back since TA McLendon. He made fantastic cuts and made plays with his feet and his head.
- Dana Bible – Gutsy call. We now know that when the kicking team came on, Bible was yelling into Tom’s ear “IT’S ONLY 6 INCHES” yet we know those six inches were difficult to come by on two quarterback sneaks and an over the top Washington lunge. Great play call.
- George Bryan – Could deserve the game ball all on his own for not pulling a Zack Pianalto (recall that the Tarheels were in the same situation v. LSU and Pianalto TWICE dropped the game winning pass).
Although the game ball could deservedly go to any of those individuals who, without their efforts, this game would have most certainly gone into the “other column” I wanted to hit on one person who I think made THE play of the game.
Aside from having an absolute perfect name to be a Wolfpack player, Earl Wolff made THE play that very well could have saved this game for the Wolfpack. It was Wolff who stopped Taiwan Easterling after a Ponder pass for a gain of 29 yards. It was a huge play for the Noles, but recall that Wolff made initial contact on Easterling, held on by the back of his jersey, pulled himself up using Easterling’s jersey, and finished the tackle which resulted in ONLY a 29 yard play which could have been the game winning touchdown cementing a would-be Florida State victory. My hat goes off to Wolff who made a hell of a play when moisture had been a consistent problem the entire night. He held onto a wet jersey with wet hands and did not give up on the play. For this I salute you Earl Wolff.
So when the Wolfpack Faithful take I-85 South to Death Valley, we need to start a new cheer:
WOLFF – PACK
And now on to more of a personal note.
1 year ago this weekend, I held my new born son on the third floor of Rex Hospital watching the Florida State/NC State game over a standard definition feed while sitting on subpar furniture which I also had to sleep on. He had on a tiny red toboggan as he started his life learning what it was like to be a Wolfpack fan.
The game was exciting, as most of you will recall. We ended up losing the game on a night which was eerily similar to last night. After the game, I looked down at that little guy and said to him, “well son, you’re going to have to learn disappointment early. This is the price you pay to be a Wolfpack fan.” But it was at that moment where he taught me a life lesson: he made me realize what was truly important. Any other year, I would have been yelling and cursing at the TV and my entire day would have been ruined. That 45 – 42 loss was at the back of my mind that day.
I was born in 1983, the last year that the Wolfpack did anything of real national relevance. I’ve never known a great Wolfpack team, only flashes of what could have been great teams. I was gearing him up for the disappointment that has become my second nature when it comes to Wolfpack Athletics.
He wasn’t up for much of the game last night nor would he really have known what was going on. What he does know is his little red and white football that he can’t sleep without at night. What he does know is that when you yell “TOUCHDOWN WOLFPACK” with the right amount of excitement and volume, he’ll throw both hands right up into the air to signal a touchdown on his part too. I’m raising this boy to follow in the same fashion as another young Wolfpack friend, Locke, who took YouTube by storm in 2007.
Tomorrow, my son Ethan will turn 1 (pictured proudly and happily wearing his Wolfpack blanket as a cape). He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s a Wolfpack fan through and through.
Every game is a big game. Next weekend will be tough, but we control our destiny. Next week, Ethan will be somewhere in Raleigh wearing his little red shoes and a onesie with the throwback strutting wolf logo throwing his hands up in the air for every Wolfpack touchdown. Let’s go Pack and Happy Birthday Ethan!