As we ring in a new year, here’s a look back at some of the best moments from the year that was for the NC State Wolfpack.
Honorable Mention. November 9: Pack Hoops inks three big-time recruits
Coach Mark Gottfried’s first recruiting class at NC State will be a big one. On National Signing Day he received hard commitments from three of the nation’s best seniors- and all three of them are from the state of North Carolina.
Tyler Lewis of Oak Hill Academy is a four-star prospect rated as the eighth best point guard in the 2012 class. He is joined by Brewster Academy’s T.J. Warren, a five star small forward who is ranked as the fifth best player at his position, and Rodney Purvis, a five star recruit rated as the fifth best shooting guard in this year’s class.
ESPNU 100 ranked Gottfried’s class as the No. 2 class in the country, while Rivals.com has rated the Wolfpack’s incoming class as the nation’s No. 3 class.
5. November 21: State basketball rallies from 18 down to beat Texas, 77-74
The Pack used an incredible 28-2 run to erase an 18-point second half deficit to outlast Texas at the final horn 77-74 in the TicketCity Legends Classic consolation game in Newark, New Jersey.
The Pack was led by C.J. Leslie’s 17 points, Scott Wood’s 16, and Lorenzo Brown’s 11 points and four assists. The Longhorns’ Julien Lewis saw his buzzer beater fall three feet short to send the Pack home with their first win of the season over a power conference team.
4. November 5: State shuts out Carolina, 13-0
After tons of trash talk between players and coaches the week leading up to the highly anticipated rivalry match-up between the Wolfpack and Tar Heels, the Pack’s defense spoke last. They recorded four sacks and three interceptions, knocking out Tar Heel quarterback Bryn Renner at the end of the third quarter and shutting out “the Flagship” 13-0 at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Senior receiver T.J. Graham scored the game’s only touchdown on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Mike Glennon. Freshman kicker Niklas Sade converted on two field-goal attempts to round out the scoring for the Pack.
The win marked the first time the Wolfpack had beaten the Tar Heels five straight times since 1988-92.
3. December 27: State wins Belk Bowl, 31-24 over Louisville
After barely qualifying for a bowl game, the Pack headed a few hours down the road to Charlotte to play Louisville in the Belk Bowl. In front of a favorable crowd, the Pack put on a show. Quarterback Mike Glennon took home MVP honors after throwing for 264 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Tobais Palmer made a remarkable catch for a 35 yard touchdown in the first half, and senior T.J. Graham followed it by making multiple Cardinal defenders miss as he took a pass from Glennon 68 yards for a score.
But it was State’s defense that won the game for the Pack late, as they got two interceptions by the nation’s leader, David Amerson. He returned one 65 yards for a touchdown, which ended up as the deciding score in the ballgame. The Pack sacked Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater five times on the night, and picked him off three times. It was fitting that the game ended with Amerson’s 13th interception of the year, a new ACC single-season record.
2. November 26: State comes back from 27 down against Maryland to win 56-41
Needing to win their final game of the season to reach bowl eligibility, State trailed 41-14 with six minutes left in the third quarter to a Maryland team that had nothing to play for. With many fans already headed for the exits, the Pack scored 42 unanswered points (35 in the fourth quarter) to stun the Terrapins.
State needed just 13 minutes of game time to erase the deficit, as James Washington scored on a one yard run to put the Pack ahead with just over seven minutes to play in the game. Quarterback Mike Glennon threw for 306 yards and became the second Wolfpack player to account for six touchdowns in a single game, joining Philip Rivers in that exclusive club.
It was the biggest comeback in NC State’s history, and the second-largest comeback in the history of the ACC.
1. November 19: State destroys No. 7 Clemson, 37-13
The Pack hadn’t defeated Clemson since 2003, and many expected this would not be the year that they ended the streak against the Tigers. Coming off an embarrassing loss at Boston College, State dominated then No. 7 Clemson, who came into the game with a record of 9-1, in every phase of the game. The Wolfpack defense caused four turnovers, and sacked All-ACC quarterback Tahj Boyd five times.
Quarterback Mike Glennon completed 19 of his 29 passing attempts for 253 yards, tossing three touchdowns, one each to Tobais Palmer, George Bryan, and Jay Smith. Freshman Tony Creecy added a score on the ground for the Wolfpack.
It was the first victory at home for the Pack over a top ten team since 1998.