Monday, December 6, 2010

Bowl notes: Goal in sight for N.C. State

Coach Tom O’Brien is pushing hard to advance the idea that N.C. State has an opportunity to hit a significant season win milestone when it plays in the Champs Sports Bowl.
The Wolfpack is 8-4 heading into the Dec. 28 bowl game with No. 22 West Virginia (9-3) in Orlando, Fla.

At Sunday night’s bowl news conference, O’Brien mentioned that N.C. State has an opportunity to equal the second-highest win total in school history.

Led by Philip Rivers, the 2002 team set the school record with 11 wins. N.C. State has never had a 10-win season, but has had eight nine-win seasons, most recently in 1994.

O’Brien wants his team to add to that total.

“We’re looking to have a good time, but looking to win a football game,” O’Brien said. “The ultimate prize for this team is to win the ninth game, set themselves apart in the history of N.C. State football. So it’s a great opportunity.”

His players seem to be buying into the importance of that feat.

“We’re going to make sure we end the season 9-4, and make sure it’s a good game for everybody to see,” said senior wide receiver Jarvis Williams.

N.C. State is taking the week off from practice for final exams.

The Wolfpack opened its postseason practice Saturday and Sunday, and will return to the practice field on Saturday, Dec. 11.

O’Brien isn’t sure of the exact itinerary yet, but said the team will spend Christmas in Orlando as part of a normal practice week.

He plans to get the redshirting players as much work in practice as the starters as he takes advantage of the extra practice to build for the future of the program.

N.C. State will open a practice to the fans at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 19 at Carter-Finley Stadium. The Wolfpack men’s basketball team plays host to Arizona later that afternoon, at 4:45 p.m. at the RBC Center.

Two years after the fact, O’Brien and quarterback Russell Wilson smiled Sunday night as they recalled Wilson’s situation from the team’s last bowl appearance, in the Bowl.

Wilson suffered a knee injury late in the first half, and N.C. State went into halftime leading 17-6 behind 186 passing yards and 46 rushing yards by Wilson. Wilson wanted to play in the second half, but the team doctor said he couldn’t play, so O’Brien benched him.

“You were mad,” O’Brien said to Wilson, who was sitting next to him.

“I was mad,” Wilson admitted. “I wanted to play that game. That’s why I ran back out there. I remember I ran back out at halftime because I wanted to play the second half.”

After dominating the first half, N.C. State collapsed without Wilson and lost 29-23. Even though it cost him a chance at a winning season, as N.C. State finished 6-7, O’Brien doesn’t regret holding Wilson out of the game.

“I wasn’t going to let him play, because obviously he has a bright future in a lot of things,” O’Brien said, “and to play in the second half of a bowl game just so we could win a football game [wasn’t worth it]."

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

GO MOUNTAINEERS! State will blow the game like usual and won't be able to handle the #3 defense in the country!

Anonymous said...

If it comes down to it, will Obrien will have the guts to try for it on 4th and 1, down by 1 in W Va territory with only 3 minutes to go, or will he punt like he did vs Clemson?

Anonymous said...

Neither. WVa forfeits game due to inability to read directions to Orlando. If they do make it, WVa will send some thug in (take your pick of who) to take out Russel and O'Brien wont put him back in citing "his bright future in baseball."

16,032 WVa fans arrested for public intox. 49 Wva fans get arrested for incest. Upon winning the game, HC Stewart thanks his mom for their beautiful children.