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Par For The Course

Some photos from the game.

A quotation from this story sums up the win:

Shrugged N.C. State psychology major Amanda Wollard after the game: "It worked."

The remark could just as easily refer to the entire 2005 season. What the Wolfpack did this year wasn't pretty...but it worked.

I'm glad we were able to finish on a good note, even if it did come in a third-tier bowl game.

I had a great time in Charlotte; the weather was mild, the Bulls fans were nice, there was red everywhere, and we watched along with other Wolfpackers as the basketball team pounded the crap out of George Washington.

I have one complaint: nearly the entire bowl game was played at the west end of the field. Regardless of the quarter we were in, regardless of who had the ball, the ball was moving west. I was sitting near the east endzone, naturally, so I nearly got a cramp in my neck from looking to my right for three hours.

By the fourth quarter, it was almost comical. Neither team had possessed the ball in the red zone at the east end, and the grass looked pristine--especially compared to the rest of the field. I think this is the closest either team got to the east endzone, and notice here that USF is of course moving away.

Weird quirk aside, the game was an enjoyable one. It felt like we were in control for most of the second half, though the team did its best to keep things interesting. The Wolfpack should've scored about twice as many points as they actually did, but that never became an issue.

The Charlotte Observer's Ken Tysiac noted:

The bowl most valuable player for N.C. State could have been South Florida players wearing the number four. On defense, No. 4 was cornerback Mike Jenkins, who gave up a 9-yard touchdown pass and a 41-yard pass to set up another touchdown on fade routes to Brian Clark. Number four on offense was backup quarterback Carlton Hill, who lost fumbles on consecutive possessions in the third quarter.

Regarding Hill, I have to ask: WTF? Why did Jim Leavitt replace Julmiste to start the second half? Was he disturbed by the lack of turnovers to that point?

Hill didn't last too long, though, and at least USF had the sense to put Julmiste back in the game when the Bulls got the ball on their own six inch line.

Ron Green reacted rather sourly to the game:

Against South Florida, the Wolfpack did what it does -- relied on its defense to play like a boa constrictor and counted on its offense to scrape together enough production to win. That's also the modus operandi of the Bulls, who were slightly less effective on both counts.

Watching N.C. State is like watching road construction. It's frustrating stuff full of digging and gouging that, if done properly, ultimately produces something you can use. Sounds like its basketball team, too, which, by the way, might be very good this season.

Not that I blame Ron for his disposition. If I worked in a building as depressing as the Observer's, I'd be pretty sour too.

One final note: Tramain Hall received a nice ovation in the fourth quarter, but, unfortunately, the bowl game wasn't much of a last hurrah for him. The ovation came as he was being helped off of the field by NC State trainers; earlier, Hall had a pair of drops and fumbled a punt return.