NC State is the champion of the inaugural Bitcoin Bowl. That's right, let it soak in, we've earned it. The Wolfpack picked up where it left off at the end of the regular season and beat UCF on Friday night, 34-27. Not without at least a little late-game fretting, of course. Never without that.
NC State and Central Florida traded scores for the first 30 minutes or so before the Wolfpack started to assert some control over the game. State took a 17-10 lead into the half and had the better of UCF for the last five or six minutes of the second quarter.
State built on that by taking its first drive of the second half 75 yards in three minutes, and after holding UCF to a field goal a bit later, put together another TD drive that gave it a 31-13 lead into the fourth quarter. The drama started when the Knights put together a quick touchdown drive then forced a three-and-out on the Pack's subsequent possession.
With 10 minutes still to go at that point, the Knights had enough time to manage their two-score deficit. Thankfully, NC State's defense was able to get stops at important times, once picking off Justin Holman on a deep ball and later preventing a UCF conversion on fourth down.
Not quite enough stops to allow us all to relax over the last few minutes, but that's how it goes. NC State could have made things a wee bit easier on itself--Nik Sade missed a 47-yard field goal in the last five minutes that would have made it a three-score game--but hey, what's enough is enough. And NC State had enough. Amen.