Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Resilience marks Wolfpack football season

Elizabeth Edwards took the word and made it hers, but you can look at the N.C. State football team of 2010 and see resilience etches in faces on the field.

That trait was evident again Tuesday in a pulsating 23-7 win over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl. Russell Wilson snatched the headlines with 275 yards of passing and 41 yards rushing. Wilson is so savvy, and so elusive, that you almost forget State even has any running backs. And Wilson's numbers would have been much higher if his receivers had not had so many drops.

But the play that made the game came from the other side, and it was oh so typical of this Wolfpack team. West Virginia trailed by just nine points when quarterback Geno Smith gunned the balldownfield in the fourth quarter. The ball roared off his arm toward an open receiver knifing behind the Wolfpack defense, but safety Brandon Bishop swooped over for a stunning interception.

That throw, had Bishop missed his timing, was an easy touchdown, and a two-point game. But Bishop made a Pro Bowl level snag that had him fully extended in the air and grabbing the ball with both hands. After State had given up whopping passing yards to UNC and Maryland, Bishop's play made a statement that the Pack would not yield again.

But the Wolfpack has been like that this year. State never lost two straight games and came back in convincing fashion after each defeat. Tuesday's game came off a disappointing effort at Maryland, but there was no flat performance from the Wolfpack.

The future of Russell Wilson remains uncertain, and there's no question he is one of the school's all-time great players and worthy of having his jersey retired. But whether Wilson returns or not, Tom O'Brien seems to have finally found the type of team he wants at N.C. State - tough, determined ... resilient. That's a superb foundation for a program that turned an important corner in 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Nice article, It's good to see both NCSU and UNC win bowl games. Let's hope Wilson wants one
    more year., wolfie '61