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Resilient Pack

Taking the Field

NC State returns to Carter-Finley Stadium Saturday against longtime rival Wake Forest in the opening game of the 2020 football season.

Football rests in the end zone after a Wolfpack touchdown in Carter-Finley Stadium.
One for the history books: NC State kicks off a football season like no other.

What better way to return some semblance of normalcy to NC State’s campus than by repeating what has happened consecutively for the last 111 years?

That will happen this weekend, despite unprecedented circumstances, when NC State hosts its longest running football rival, Wake Forest, at 8 p.m. Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium in the opening game of the 2020 football season. The two teams have played without interruption every season since 1910, college football’s third longest continuously contested rivalry.

They met during the World War I- and Spanish Flu-altered season of 1918, during three years of World War II, during a local polio outbreak that canceled games in 1952 and through multiple hurricane warnings.

This year, however will be different. No fans, family, faculty nor other non-game-day personnel will be in the stadium for the game, per state of North Carolina guidelines and ACC protocol. But the game will go on, assuming the remnants of Hurricane Sandy don’t have a bigger impact on the grounds than the full force of 2016’s Hurricane Matthew had during the Wolfpack-Notre Dame game. It will be televised on cable by the ACC Network.

Aerial view of Carter-Finley Stadium.
Aerial view of Carter-Finley Stadium.

With no tailgating, no screaming student sections, no band, no mid-September heat warnings, Saturday’s game won’t make the traditional beginning to the fall semester normal, but it might help a little, especially for followers who haven’t had much college athletics access since the ACC Men’s Basketball Championship was cancelled just before NC State faced Duke in Greensboro.

After all, the yard lines and end zones are still painted and the field is still 100 yards from pylon to pylon.

Rooting for a Routine

“I think we’re all starving for a routine,” says Dave Doeren, who is beginning his eighth season as NC State’s head coach. “This allows us to hopefully have one, just to get into game week and get the opportunity to have back-to-back similar weeks as we move forward because we’ve had the opposite.”

Doeren’s team was scheduled to start the season last weekend at Virginia Tech, but had to pause preparations because of several positive COVID-19 tests within athletics. That game has been rescheduled for next weekend in Blacksburg, Virginia.

“Every day has really been a day where change could happen. Hopefully as we get into these games, if they continue the way they are, we can get into that ‘this is what your Monday looks like, your Tuesday and so on.’

“The guys can have a routine, and the coaches can have a routine in their lives.”

And so will the rest of the campus community, even if it’s not what we’re used to.

For full coverage of the NC State football season, visit