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Wolfpack Football Season Kicks Off Thursday Night

The Wolfpack takes on South Florida at Carter-Finley Stadium. Get the latest on traffic and COVID-19 protocols before you head out for the game.

Panoramic shot of an empty Carter-Finley Stadium.

For the first time in five years and only the eighth time in school history, NC State football will kick off its season with a Thursday night contest.

The 7:30 p.m. contest against South Florida will begin Dave Doeren’s ninth season as head coach. Last year, the Wolfpack completed an 8-4 season, which included a 7-3 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a 23-21 postseason loss to Kentucky in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.

The weeknight event might cause some traffic issues for NC State personnel leaving work and for fans getting to the North Carolina State Fairground complex just down Hillsborough Street from main campus for tailgating and pregame festivities.

Specifically, the Carter-Finley park-and-ride location will be closed on Thursday and the Route 60 bus line will not serve that stop, the Trinity Road stop or the Westchase Boulevard stop.

All stops at the College of Veterinary Medicine will continue to be served as scheduled throughout the day.

For real time bus updates, download the TransLoc app in the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store or visit

The Red Terror Bus Service that transports students from main campus to athletics events will begin running at 4:30 p.m. from the Cates Avenue stop near the Witherspoon Student Center. It will drop riders near Gate B on Trinity Road.

Construction on Interstate 440 is ongoing and may cause delays, especially for commuters returning home from work or those heading to the football game. NC State Transportation suggests planning for extra travel time to arrive at the stadium.

Unlike last year, there are no COVID-19 limitations for capacity at Carter-Finley Stadium, but every home game will follow campus and Wake County guidance for face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. While masks are not required outdoors, all spectators, staff and other game-day personnel are encouraged to wear face coverings and are required to wear them inside elevators, restrooms and other enclosed spaces.

Spectators and game personnel with tickets inside Vaughn Towers are required to wear masks while indoors at the Dail Club, unless actively eating or drinking. Outside, spectators are encouraged, but not required to wear face coverings. Those in suites are required to wear face coverings unless actively eating or drinking and all suite owners are encouraged to open windows. All individuals in the Wolves Den are required to wear face coverings unless actively eating or drinking.

A list of all safety and security protocols, including clear-bag requirements, is available on

Multiple new food, beverage and seating options are available at the stadium throughout the season.