Final Score: Fla State Seminoles 16 – NC State 17; Attendance 54,962
Weather: Beautiful, 81 degrees; Ticket Price $50 scalper (Face $65), Parking Free
“It must be our lucky day” by Tree
Carter-Finley Stadium is surrounded by the woods with the basketball arena on the other side. It was dark and we came in right off the freeway. If the campus was nearby, you would never know. It was a long walk from our lot but it was well lit. The stadium is fairly new with a big wolf statute as you walk in. We were quickly able to find our seats. They were end zone corner seats on the lower level. They turned out to be great, under cover, but with a TV to make up for not being able to see a small part of the field and scoreboard. To be honest, we didn’t miss any of the action. Another nice thing was that we were in the back row which made it an easy hop to get out to the concourse. If the concession stands were corporate run, I couldn’t tell. It seemed to have a nice local feel. The real attraction was the bathrooms. I have never been in a stadium with so many stalls. There were no troughs here, just miles of clean toilets. In general, the stadium was clean and spacious. Another feature that I appreciated was that the scoreboard showed the stats during the game.
My son and I arrived at the stadium five minutes prior to the start of the game after having dropped off my wife at the Hilton by the airport. As an aside, we got a great room on a Saturday night for $85. This was a pleasant surprise after seeing $200 rooms in Blacksburg Va. Despite having spent the afternoon watching the Tar Heels beat the Hokies, we were excited for the game. Florida State was coming in ranked at number three in the country and we were hoping the Wolfpack would rise to the occasion. I had spent the day trying to get tickets from folks on Craigslist, but it proved fruitless. Coming in late proved to be a blessing in disguise. We followed the traffic nearly to the stadium and spotted a scalper. We pulled up and snagged two tickets for $50 apiece. They were much better seats than we had been looking at on the internet and they were cheaper. The only confusing thing was finding a place to park. First we ended up at the NC State fairgrounds. There was some sort of rodeo or 4H meeting. Whatever the occasion was, we were definitely not going to be allowed to park there. This, too, turned out for the best. We drove down the street and found a parking lot in an office building. I can’t say for sure if they were charging earlier, but I don’t think they were. In any case, we parked for free.
Florida State dominated the first half, seemingly running over NC State at will. At halftime, the score was 16-0 Florida State. A priest at a convent had a better chance scoring than the Wolfpack offense did in the first half. Despite the FSU dominance on defense, their offense was settling on field goals instead of touchdowns. NC State finally started clicking in the second and slowly clawed their way back. With 2:27 left, the special teams came up huge, blocking a Seminole punt and giving NC State QB Mike Glennon one more shot. It was a nail-biter of a drive with two fourth down completions. The last one came with sixteen seconds left and put the Wolfpack ahead for the first time and the win.
The couple sitting to us were quite amorous and the bailed before halftime. While I welcomed the extra room, I was surprised they couldn’t even last to halftime. It was kind of a creepy vibe to be honest. Much better was the three generation family of NC State fans being led in cheers by Grandma. The Wolfpack fans were clearly in the game and had a distinctive “Wolfpack” cheer. Even better was this gesture they would make their hands by bringing their thumb to their middle and ring fingers while leaving up their index and pinkie fingers. The resulting figure looked like a little wolf howling. Great stuff.
By the end of the game, my son and I were high-fiving with the NC State fans and hoarse from cheering. We got to see a great upset and one of the best games of 2012. To top it off, when I arrived back at the hotel, my wife was raving about the great service she had gotten from the staff. It was a lucky day all around.