In the spirit of our recent posts about the worst and the best of NC State sports, I think we should start spending the offseason dwelling on the best, including some games that understandably might have slipped through the cracks of the ol' memory-rememberin' machine over the years. (In part because we've had to flood said rememberin' device with booze, for obvious, pragmatic reasons.)
A game I will never forget, and one that would prove symbolic of Chuck Amato's first season in Raleigh, was the improbable win at Indiana. That is a ludicrous phrase within a football context: "improbable win at Indiana." Hell, the team that got that win must be pretty bad, right?
It was the second game of Amato's head coaching career. The only thing on his head coaching résumé at that point was an improbable overtime win--at home--against Arkansas State. I was in Chicago with my dad when that Arkansas State game happened.
We were there to see the White Sox, who were far more stable, as it turned out, than this guy Chuck Amato's merry band of who-are-these-people. The only updates we had on the opener came via the bottom line scroll on ESPN, and when the definitive word came, "NCSU 38 Ark. State 31 (2OT)", we celebrated and we exhaled and we said to ourselves, "interesting, the new quarterback threw for almost 400 yards."
A week later, Philip Rivers was leading another comeback effort, this one considerably more unlikely than the last, this one on the road, this one, it's worth making plain, his second college game ever. I hadn't been able to see the first game of the year, and the season prior had been mundane as hell, but after that Indiana game, I was all the way back in.
This was my first introduction to Koren Robinson, Destroyer Of Worlds.
After beating the Hoosiers, Amato was jokingly suggesting that fans should have their nitroglycerin pills ready. It was by no means bad advice. The rallies and/or close games were themes that year. State got its surprising win at Indiana, which proved to be the start to a successful year. Somewhere in there Koren Robinson found time to incinerate Minnesota.