NC State was simply trying to go and play a football game in a baseball stadium, as per longstanding tradition, and even that gets thwarted by the universe. This stupid universe, I swear to god.
In the lead up to the Holiday Bowl, you could tell that State’s players were really invested in getting a 10th win, because of what it would mean for the season, and also because it would mean for their legacies here. So it’s not at all surprising that there was a good mix of anger, frustration, and disappointment from those guys when they heard the game would not be played.
Here’s a sample of the reaction from the players:
Gonna cancel 5 hours before the kick?! Spent Christmas away from home, practiced for a month, had family fly across the country to watch the game.. smdh— Porter Rooks (@Porter_Rooks) December 28, 2021
Real pain man— Grant Gibson (@BigGrant73_) December 28, 2021
our team has been away from family and friends for a month prepping for this. We have been here for 5 days practicing, were in a hotel for christmas just for it to be canceled 5 hours before kickoff? We deserve better— Aaron McLaughlin (@11_apm) December 28, 2021
Ain’t no way…— DLeary (@DevinLeary1) December 28, 2021
Man…— Zonovan Knight (@knight_zonovan) December 28, 2021
Get us a game to help us get this 10th win— Thayer Thomas (@thayerthomas1) December 28, 2021
These boys deserve to play man….— Isaiah Moore (@_zaynlm) December 28, 2021
Athletics director Boo Corrigan spoke to the team after the news broke and told media members that he was going to do his best to find a replacement matchup, but given the timing, the odds of a new opponent materializing are poor. ECU, SMU, and Memphis are not options. (NC State also plays ECU next year so playing an impromptu game now doesn’t make a lot of sense.)
Boo was not happy about how this whole thing played out from UCLA’s side. Pack Pride has the video/transcript of his remarks this afternoon. This part, in particular, really sucks:
I heard Drake [Thomas] saying the players found out on Twitter. That’s miserable. That’s an abject failure that they’ve got to find out on Twitter instead of us being able to tell them.
News travels fast and I’m sure UCLA wouldn’t have wanted it to play out like that either, but this is just another layer to the frustration that everybody on the NC State side is feeling tonight. Whole thing was messy, and making the decision UCLA did when it did made the task of finding a replacement opponent almost impossible. So it goes.