When I think about the best and worst of NC State football in this century it’s difficult for me to come up with a more heartbreaking season than 2003, which was Philip Rivers’ senior year. Rivers was brilliant and at the very least should have been invited to the Heisman ceremonies that year, but the team finished 7-5.
You can see all of the good and the bad in this 47-34 win over North Carolina in Raleigh; Rivers was almost always great, and special teams made plays, but the team was horribly sloppy, and it needed a lot of points.
None of us were complaining about the sloppy part, or the defense, on that Saturday afternoon, mind you. This was only September. NC State made it that year to mid-November with its ACC fate in its own hands, only to lose in double overtime at Florida State and close things out with a gross home loss to Maryland.
But that season not only provided this housing of UNC, it gave us an incredibly fun win against a Matt Schaub-led UVA team, a ridiculous last-second win over UConn (that game and its stupidity have been completely forgotten; State won with a walk-off pick-six), and a somewhat bizarre housing of Texas Tech.
So anyhow, in the spirit of all of that, here was NC State beating the shit out of some lamers, briefly defining itself as being very good, then kind of going wishy-washy possession-to-possession. That was 2003.