With 2020 winding down (thankfully), it’s time to look back at one heck of a sports year for NC State. There were a lot of sports that were not played, but also many that were, but maybe the real sports are the friends we made along the way. Or maybe the sports are the numerous conference titles NC State won in 2020. Anyway, sports.
Here are the top 16 moments of 2020, which is a top 16 because 16 is the appropriate number and not because I made a top 15 and realized I forgot an important one. Let me know what else I forgot in the comments below.
16. Women’s basketball rallies past Boston College with 28-9 fourth quarter
State showed up for one quarter of this game, but that’s all it needed. The #4 Wolfpack outscored Boston College 28-9 in the fourth quarter to complete an improbable comeback and grab a 75-69 win.
15. Men’s basketball wins thriller at Virginia
State completed a three-game winning streak with a wild comeback victory at Virginia. Despite opening up a double-digit lead, the referees removed D.J. Funderburk and Virginia rallied before State delivered a rally of its own behind two huge three-pointers.
14. Football avenges years of Wake Forest haunting with thrilling win
Despite a backup quarterback, a new coaching staff, and an opponent apparently constructed with surgical precision just to defeat NC State, the Pack beat Wake Forest on opening night with a thrilling 45-42 victory.
13. Gymnastics wins share of regular season EAGL Championship
The EAGL Championship meet was a casualty of a shortened gymnastics season, but the Pack’s 4-1 conference record was enough to earn a share of the 2020 regular season title. It was notably the third conference title of the month for NC State.
12. Football’s 23-13 win over Georgia Tech secures record number of ACC wins
Dave Doeren secured his seventh ACC win of the season one year after managing just a lonely little one win. The turnaround was completed with a home win over Georgia Tech in the season finale that was the exclamation point on a four-game winning streak to finish the season.
11. Football beats #21 Liberty with blocked field goal
NC State Football scored a ranked victory over Liberty by blocking a 39-yard field goal with just over a minute left. It was the Flames’ lone loss of the season and part of a four game winning streak for State.
10. Men’s basketball obliterates Duke
In a reminder of just how good of a point guard he could be, Markell Johnson dropped 28 points on the Blue Devils as the Pack incinerated its in-state rival 88-66. Johnson also hit his third halfcourt shot of the season. The game was never close even for a second.
Side note: Can you believe this game was this year?
9. Men’s basketball snaps streak against UNC
NC State finally snapped its home losing streak to UNC on December 22 with a 79-76 win. It wasn’t flukey and it wasn’t really an upset. NC State was just the better team, which makes it even better. Also, Shakeel Moore destroyed a man’s life.
8. Devin Leary balls out against Pittsburgh
In Devin Leary’s first start of the season, he went on the road to #24 Pittsburgh, messed around a little, and threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns including a game-winning dime to Emeka Emezie
7. Women’s basketball wins at #1 South Carolina
Wes Moore’s team picked up where it left off after its ACC Championship season, meeting the #1 South Carolina Gamecocks on their homecourt and leaving with a 54-46 win. Kayla Jones hit a clutch three in crunch time to secure the win.
6. Wrestling walks-off UNC with insane final bout
UNC, ranked #8, thought perhaps this was the year it could finally knock off State, but Deonte Wilson decided that today was not that day. Wilson walked-off the Tar Heels in front of a record crowd in Reynold Coliseum by winning the final bout of the night and preserving the Pack’s slim lead. It gave State Wrestling its sixth straight win over UNC.
5. Wrestling clinches regular season ACC Championship with comeback win over Virginia Tech
Down 15-9 against #7 Virginia Tech, The Wolfpack claimed three of the final four bouts to score a 21-18 victory. It was the third straight top-10 team the Pack had beaten. The win guaranteed it at least a share of the regular season ACC Title, an honor it would claim all to itself a week later with a win over Duke. It would then win the actual ACC Championship a month later.
4. Women’s cross country wins fifth straight ACC title
NC State racked up quite a few ACC titles in 2020, including its fifth straight in women’s cross country. The Pack placed two runners in the top three and three in the top ten. It’s the program’s 26th title and its longest streak of consecutive titles since it won seven in a row from 1987 to 1993.
3. Men’s swimming and diving wins sixth consecutive ACC Championship
Wrestling gets a lot of the headlines in NC State’s recent burst of non-revenue sport success, and that’s fine, because it’s dang good. But what these guys are doing should not be ignored. Coleman Stewart set a conference record in the 200 backstroke by almost a whole second and the Pack took seven golds in the event.
2. Wrestling wins second ACC Championship in a row
It’s no surprise to see the wrestling team in here a lot. It went 15-0 and won both the regular season ACC Championship and real ACC Championship. State’s 81 points edged out host Pittsburgh’s 77 to claim its second straight conference title.
1. Women’s basketball wins ACC Championship
What else was number one going to be?