Even before the game started, many sport analysts had picked East Carolina over NC State, even though it was a home game for the Wolfpack. Those same sport analysts said that this would be an easy win for the Pirates, making them one game closer to a BCS title game. They counted on ECU’s stellar offense and defense to help bring that prediction to light. However, there is one thing that both the analysts and ECU forgot to take into account: when dealing with NC State: the tenacity and eagerness the Wolfpack football team would possess to prove the naysayers wrong. It was this miscalculation, along with a well-noted effort by the revamped offense and defense, which propelled NC State to a win in overtime, 30-24.
In a game that had its share of rollercoaster moments, ECU would be the first to score, when Van Eskridge intercepted a pass thrown by Harrison Beck. Despite being down 7-0, the Wolfpack did not panic; instead, they took a good part of the latter first quarter and the wakening seconds of the second quarter, to score a touchdown, led by Redshirt freshman, Russell Wilson. This would be the first touchdown NC State has scored on offense against a bowl subdivision team, since November of last year. To answer the touchdown, ECU scored again on their next possession, making the game 14-7 and remained so until halftime. In a sense of rejuvenation from the offense, Wilson led the Pack to a touchdown on its first possession of the third quarter. Ironically, in a seemingly back and forth game, ECU would score once again, which made the score 21-14. However, from that point on, the stubborn NC State defense only allowed ECU 3 more points, which would help set up the grounds of victory for the Wolfpack. For the next quarter and a half, NC State answered 14 unanswered points to help tie the game at 24-24 and send it into overtime. Even though ECU had the first possession of overtime, they were not able to capitalize on it; this was because, after the first few plays, Defensive End, Shane McKeen, sacked ECU quarterback, Patrick Pinkney, which caused Pinkney to lose control of the ball, which was later recovered by Willie Young. Consequently, it would not take long for our offense to seal the deal. After two jaw-dropping plays that put the team in a good position to score, Andre Brown scored a 10-yard touchdown that helped put NC State at an even, 2-2, and helped hand ECU its first loss of the season and dashing its BCS title game hopes.
This game represented more than NC State, a team with “nothing to lose,” upsetting No. 15, East Carolina; no, this game means more than that. The game, perhaps, finally helped the offense find its identity with Russell Wilson at helm, after several years of hardly any success and countless letdowns. The game showed defense that is, finally, coming into its own, and has shown, they are a force to be reckoned with. But most importantly, the game showed a team that, finally, figured out how to play all four quarters to win a game. If, and only if, our team takes away the lessons learned at this game, will they have success in the games to come. For in the end, we have something to prove to our critics, the opposing teams, and ultimately, to ourselves.