Monday, November 15, 2004

Goodbye To All That

You'll have to pardon my absense--I've been too busy sulking to post anything. You see, a lot of bad things happened last Thursday night. Not only did NC State lose its fourth straight game, it officially fell from bowl contention and ensured itself its first losing season since 1996. And it was raining. There is no joy in Mudville.

To top it all off, the Florida State/NC State game was my last home game as an undergraduate, and it capped a pathetic 2-4 home slate. This (and I mean both the season and the FSU game) wasn't how I had envisioned things would end.

We had to beat FSU if we wanted to go to a bowl, but it wasn't happening. I was optimistic before the game (we always play the Noles tough--well, under Amato, anyway), but it did not take long for reality to set in. Even though we were up 10-0 at halftime, our only TD had come via a punt return. The offense had done little to nothing (though nor had FSU's offense). In the second half, the field position battle flip-flopped, with FSU getting the ball around midfield the entire third quarter--and that was the difference. A crucial TA McLendon fumble (shocker) once again cost the Pack. FSU took a 17-10 lead and would never come close to losing it. The Pack managed one first down in the second half--and that thanks to a penalty. Compound the poor offensive showing with the cold and the rain, and it wasn't a particularly enjoyable last hurrah.

I think it was with about :10 seconds left in the game when it began to sink in that this was my last home game as a student ... I hadn't really thought about it up to that point, so it hit me all at once. I didn't want to leave my seat. And as unbearable as FSU's band was, that's sayin' something. I think I just kinda stared off into the rain as I started to remember moments from the last few years.


vs. Indiana -- My first home game as a student, and it remains one of my more vivid football memories despite being a rather unmemorable game (we beat the Hoosiers soundly. they were foolishly trying Antwaan Randle El at WR and had some lame white boy who couldn't hack it vainly attempting to get Randle El the ball at every opportunity.). It was a beautiful Thursday evening (a Thursday game, but NOT on ESPN ... go figure), there was excitement after the previous year's bowl campaign, and Philip Rivers was still near the beginning of his career. Willie Wright had a sick TD reception in the corner of the endzone ... I'll never forget it.

vs. Carolina -- Ugh. A loss to Bunting's only team worth noting--their defense was stifling on this day. Dovonte Edwards ran right into the goalpost after catching a TD pass, and he held on. Not many highlights aside from that one.

vs. Maryland -- It's a shame we oftentimes remember the anguish more than the joy. With a tenuous lead late in the fourth quarter, we got conservative on offense, punted to the Terps with a couple minutes left, and they drove for the winning score. They had a fourth down around midfield and Carter-Finley was as loud as I ever remember it being, but they converted. They scored with :40 left. It was just their year...


vs. ETSU -- Monsoon Bowl. It rained and it poured.

vs. Duke -- Had coke spilled all over me by some dude who was completely smashed. Duke played a hell of a game and we had to hold off a late rally to win by just a couple of points. That game took us to 6-0 or 7-0 or somethin' like that.

vs. Georgia Tech -- The first in a string of three consecutive losses to this mediocre program (they weren't mediocre in '01). Very perplexing ... we were 9-0 and these guys knocked us from the unbeatens?! I never saw it coming, and that made it painful.

vs. FSU -- Last game of the year, followed three consecutive losses. Dominant defensive performance. We got our tenth win on the season, which was the program's first 10-win season. My first and only opportunity to rush the field and tear down the goalposts


vs. Carolina -- First win against the Heels in Raleigh in a long time. Much too long. Felt good to hand it to 'em, as it always does.

vs. UVA -- One of the best games I've ever witnessed in person, and probably the highlight of the last three years. It was a score-fest, and fortunately we had the ball last. TA busted a draw play for about 45 yards to put us ahead for good with less than a minute to go. On the subsequent UVA possession, Matt Schaub threw a pick six right in front of the student section ... it was one hell of a celebration (and a release of tension).

vs. Maryland -- I cannot think about this game for too long ... it's quite possibly the most painful outcome I've endured in person. So let's move on.


Still too recent to truly reminisce with the proper perspective. Plus, I'd rather forget 2/3rds of our home games this year. WF game was the only highlight.