The Morning After

It didn’t matter that two different rainstorms soaked our tailgates, that we’d lost to Virginia Tech and ECU, or that The Flagship is reeling, because on Thursday Night we won the marquee, nationally-televised ESPN Thursday night game to take control of our own destiny in the Atlantic Division.

Like my buddy said, “It’s a game of inches.” If Ponder doesn’t fake that handoff — they were running the EXACT same play as we had to take the lead — then the ball doesn’t catch on his tailback Jones’ hip and it’s very likely Ponder hits his wide open fullback in the left corner of the end zone for the winning score. Or think of it this way: 4th-and-goal from six inches out, if we kick the field goal there — even if we make it — then Florida State marches down field and kicks a field goal to win it (for the record, I never thought TOB was going to kick there; he had clock and timeouts to burn, so there was no harm in trotting out the field goal unit and talking it over).

But we went for it, we scored, and then Nate — busted hand and all — recovered Ponder’s fumble, preserving the victory. During the Alma Mater, I even caught a smile from TOB on the big screen.

Here’s a quick recap of the game, and what folks are saying.’s Tim Peeler:

Tom O’Brien couldn’t really see how far his team had to go for a game-winning touchdown when he called timeout with 2:44 remaining on the clock against No. 16 Florida State. He had already sent the field goal unit on the field to attempt a game-tying kick against the Seminoles, who had just taken a 24-21 lead.

But standing on the sidelines, O’Brien could hear offensive coordinator Dana Bible yelling in his earphones: “It’s only six inches! It’s only six inches!”

So O’Brien called his offensive players together and sent them back on the field to score the go-ahead touchdown on fourth and less than a yard. The Pack had already converted one big fourth-down play in the decisive drive, with quarterback Russell Wilson hitting receiver Darrell Davis with a 35-yard pass over the middle. But Davis was tackled on the 1-yard line, and the Wolfpack got no closer to the end zone on three consecutive running plays.

“I was lobbying to go for it,” Wilson said of the fourth-down play. “I knew we could make it.”

Wilson dropped back, looked to his right and found senior tight end George Bryan wide open in the back of the end zone. The two connected for the go-ahead score, 28-24, but there was still 2:40 remaining on the clock.

ESPN Game Summary and Box Score:

In a game that was statistically even much of the night, NC State and Florida State found themselves in eerily similar positions. Both had the ball inside the 5-yard line in the final minutes, trailing and with a chance to score a go-ahead touchdown.

Both opted for play-action passes. The Wolfpack executed. The Seminoles bumbled.

ESPN’s Heather Dinich

Bryan, who caught the game-winning touchdown in a 28-24 upset of Florida State, is part of something NC State hasn’t seen in seven years. The win over the Seminoles put NC State in a position to have its best season since the Philip Rivers era.

WRAL Game Notes:

Wilson Rushes for Three Scores: Russell Wilson’s legs, not his arm, were the key to the Wolfpack’s victory tonight. Wilson rushed for three rushing touchdowns today.

The last NC State quarterback to rush for three touchdowns in a single game was Preston Poag, who rushed for three against Western Carolina on Sept. 3, 1988.

For his career, Wilson is now responsible for 80 touchdowns. That mark ranks second in NC State history and is fifth in the ACC record books.

News & Observer’s Caulton Tudor and Photo Gallery

But whether State can get to Charlotte or not, the significance of Thursday’s performance won’t be diminished.

After trailing 21-7 at halftime, O’Brien gambled big on a fourth-down play at the FSU 1-yard-line with less than three minutes left in the game. Quarterback Russell Wilson’s ensuing touchdown pass to tight end George Bryan only marked the beginning of the real suspense.

It wasn’t until linebacker Nate Irving recovered a Christian Ponder fumble inside State’s 10 with about 50 seconds remaining that the outcome was settled.’s Chip Patterson

Wilson has not looked like himself recently. The leader of the Wolfpack offense entered the game throwing eight interceptions in his last three games, after starting the first four games with only one pick. But in the 28-24 upset victory over the Seminoles, Wilson put together one of his most complete offensive performances of the season. Wilson completed 18 of 28 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown, but really burned the Seminoles with his feet. He rushed for a team-high 17 attempts for 90 yards and three touchdowns, including a 20-yard scramble where Wilson was met head-on by a pair of Florida State defenders and still willed himself over the plane for the score.

“He got after it,” said tight end George Bryan, the recipient of the winning touchdown pass. “He led us down the field and he’s a great leader. I’d follow him anywhere and do anything for him.”

Listening to the postgame show on the way out, Bobby Purcell stopped by to, as usual, praise the Pack faithful for giving us homefield advantage; even TOB seemed pleased with the noise we created on FSU’s opening drive of the third quarter, after we cut the lead to 21-14, which ended in a fumble deep in their own territory. That was also when he commented that Bible was “screaming” at him that it’s “only six inches!” and he added they knew they had a good play to run, and it was executed perfectly.

This now seems like the TOB team we’ve patiently been waiting for. We can enjoy this through the weekend, but then we still have four conference games remaining, starting next week at Clemson; lose there, and we lose control of our own destiny.

Make sure to visit the SFN Forums for more discussion on this big win and a variety of other topics.

About LRM

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

'10 Football General NCS Football

26 Responses to The Morning After

  1. NCSU84 10/29/2010 at 10:23 AM #

    Correct me if I am wrong, but our last ACC title game was in 1979. We are long overdue. Looking at the remaining games on our schedule, there are no easy wins. Clemson, Wake, UNC, and Maryland have always played us tough. In order to go to Charlotte, we will have to win out. If we are fortunate enough to do so, we will have earned our way – our ticket will have to be punched and paid in full. But to be honest, I would not have it any other way. Go Pack!!

  2. Sam92 10/29/2010 at 10:36 AM #

    yes, i agree, it’s a tough remaining schedule, but if we can beat FSU and GT, we can beat everyone left on our schedule.

    and it is all up to us – if we play our game with some consistency we can win out, and if we ever have a game where we bring it for four solid quarters, we’ll win in a blowout.

  3. StateFans 10/29/2010 at 10:36 AM #

    1979 is correct. The last ACC Title. EVERY team from the old ACC has won or shared an ACC Title since the last time we won. Even Duke (1989) Virginia and Wake Forest.

    Carolina’s last one was the year after ours – 1980. That stings.

  4. StateFans 10/29/2010 at 10:36 AM #

    This is a fantastic consolidation of articles and reading materials. Thanks for the great work, LRM!

  5. Texpack 10/29/2010 at 11:07 AM #

    1979 is correct. The last ACC Title.

    We effectively won that title in Death Valley. That was my Freshman year at State and I sat in the Clemson student section for the game. I’ll have a game recap of that one strictly from memory next week. It is my greatest memory EVER of Wolfpack football

  6. seanb724 10/29/2010 at 11:09 AM #

    > The last NC State quarterback to rush for three touchdowns in a single game was
    > Preston Poag, who rushed for three against Western Carolina on Sept. 3, 1988.

    Wow, there’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time! That would have been my 1st home game as a freshman at NCSU. Woohoo! 🙂

    > but if we can beat FSU and GT, we can beat everyone left on our schedule.

    And if we can lose to ECU, we can loose to anyone left on our schedule. But isn’t it fun to actually be talking about this stuff this late in the season? If the team plays up to their potential, they can win any game, that is clear.

  7. JVM4PACK 10/29/2010 at 11:27 AM #

    Congrats can’t be communicated enough to the team and everyone involved last night. Use this extra time to get rested, focused and zoned in on the Tigers. This is our time!!! Go WOLFPACK

  8. packalum44 10/29/2010 at 11:48 AM #

    I need a morning after pill because last night was better than sex. Did anyone else get pissed off when Ponder was giggling on the sidelines after his touchdowns in the first half? Then, after his fumble, they zoomed in on him crying like a little girl with a coach consoling him. Guess giggling and crying go hand in hand. What a pretentious douche.

  9. eas 10/29/2010 at 11:59 AM #

    It pisses me off to. Ponder is a D-bag.

  10. MatSci94 10/29/2010 at 12:02 PM #

    I thought it was stranger that he was laughing on the sidelines after his earlier fumble (where his throwing arm was hit.)

  11. JimValvano 10/29/2010 at 12:24 PM #

    ^ I thought the exact same thing…

  12. packof81 10/29/2010 at 12:25 PM #

    It’s poetic justice that braying jackass Ponder fumbled the ball and Nate recovered it with his injured hand.

  13. Plz2BStateFan 10/29/2010 at 12:44 PM #

    Lets hope UNC beats FSU. I dont think we are good enough to win out. FSU needs a hangover!

  14. newt 10/29/2010 at 12:49 PM #

    Here are some Youtube videos from the game from the stands, including the Woodson quotes and “who let the dogs out,” the bigger band, some fun-loving FSU squaws, and general crowd pandemonium.

  15. Oilcan 10/29/2010 at 1:20 PM #

    I hope Craig James’s jaw is sour this morning, after sucking off the FSU program all night!

  16. choppack1 10/29/2010 at 2:56 PM #

    This is what happens in close games – one team makes the plays, the other doesn’t…It stung us vs. ECU and VaTech, but today, we made the plays.

    It’s also worth noting that we went toe to toe w/ an FSU team that will be MUCH harder to push around in the future. I think Jimbo, Inc have things going the right direction.

    Hopefully Nate’s hand is all right.

    A couple of unsung plays:
    CJ wilson’s tackle on 3rd and 2 of Ponder that forced a FG.
    Earl Wolfe’s effort to hold onto the FSU as he was trying to pull away.

    Great to see RW get his mojo back yesterday. Just an incredible game and very nice to be on the right side of it.

  17. timberwolf 10/29/2010 at 3:21 PM #

    ^CJ Wilson’s tackle was huge. That was a great open field tackle.

  18. McCallum 10/29/2010 at 3:40 PM #

    Preston Poag………thanks for those ints against UVa.

    Names still strikes me as some type of Scottish Clan battle of the 17th century.


  19. coach13 10/29/2010 at 3:41 PM #

    I wonder if we had any/many recruits present.

  20. BigRed 10/29/2010 at 4:35 PM #

    Well, there was one basketball recruit at the game anyway. Tyler Lewis. He committed to us today.

  21. MrPlywood 10/29/2010 at 5:02 PM #

    And to top off the week, my Packers won on Sunday night with the exact same score and the exact same scenario – Minnesota needing a TD to win, drive at the end and knocking on the door. Had Favre fumbled on his slip on the last play, it would have been eerie…

  22. LRM 10/29/2010 at 5:24 PM #

    No idea about recruits but I did see a couple older guys in Chic-fil-a Bowl shirts heading towards the towers.

  23. TOBtime 10/29/2010 at 5:48 PM #

    What a game it was! The last drive was a thing of beauty. Could someone PLEASE not let Haynes play RB anymore? The guy is an athlete but nowhere the running back Greene is. Greene made the last drive until RW hit the pass on 4th down. Yes, we can run block.

    Was it just me or did we watch a young defense grow up some right before our eyes? Manning is really coming on and I can’t say enough about the secondary. There were some busted plays but they didn’t get rattled. Hold this thing together guys!

  24. choppack1 10/29/2010 at 5:49 PM #

    One of the “talking points” going around is that the last time we controlled our own destiny this late in the season was in 2002. I believe we controlled our own destiny in 2003 as well w/ 2 games left – vs. FSU and UMd…We had the ball in a tie game w/ 2 minutes left vs. FSU and we had the lead vs. UMd w/ 1:30 left before a TA fumble. I don’t know if GaTech was 4-2 at the same point that year, but I know if we’d beaten FSU and UMd we would have won conference that year by virtue of head to head match-up.

  25. haze 10/29/2010 at 9:27 PM #

    Love it, agree with most of it…

    Now here’s to OL and the Moose. That kid is gifted.

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