NC State's season doesn't end Saturday when they host Boston College, but for 16 seniors it is the last time they will suit up in a Wolfpack uniform at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Head coach Tom O'Brien is proud of his graduating class, noting that by the end of the spring semester all 16 of them will have graduated, and to the best of his knowledge none of them have gotten into trouble off the field.
With a win over BC and then another triumph in the looming bowl game, the seniors could also come within one game of matching the most wins in a three-year stretch for Wolfpack football.
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"They've helped establish a culture and a way that you're supposed to run a program and that you can win football games," O'Brien noted. "They beat top 10 teams the last two years here. They have to have a winning record against ranked teams since they've been here.
"They've accomplished a lot. They didn't have to come here and do it, but they saw something and wanted to be a part of it, and it's going to be tough to say goodbye to some of them."
What may not be as tough as some NCSU fans may expect is for O'Brien to compete against his good friend and one-time defensive coordinator in Frank Spaziani, who may be coaching his last game for Boston College Saturday.
O'Brien used a reference to what former Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose once told Boston Red Sox players who were complaining about Rose's actions on the field during the 1975 World Series.
"He said, 'Listen, you want to be my friend, you better get yourself traded to the Big Red Machine, cause once I get between the white lines, I don't know what I say,'" O'Brien recalled. "That's my philosophy. Once the ball is kicked off doesn't matter who's on the other sideline. You got to play."
O'Brien is also hoping that his team will play Boston College tougher than the past five times, during which NCSU is just 1-4.
"That's been the difference, in the five years we've played Boston College, they've been tougher mentally, tougher physically than we've had, and that's why they've beaten us," O'Brien pointed out.
- O'Brien said that had there not been as many dropped passes as State has labored through during the latter half of the season, fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Glennon could have a 70 percent completion mark and another 500 yards to his total.
What Glennon has proven, according to O'Brien, is that he will be in the discussion for the first quarterback taken in the 2013 NFL Draft.
"He has a great talent, which we've known about," O'Brien said. "I think everybody is recognizing the talent that he does have."
- Freshman running back Shadrach Thornton has rushed for over 100 yards in the last two games, a sign of what O'Brien described as a return to prior form.
"He's kind of burst on the scene and kind of hit the wall a little bit which freshmen do and now he's back," O'Brien said. "He certainly showed a lot of potential, a lot of good things for the future
"I think it's good for him, it's good for this football team that we establish a running back like that. He runs hard, he runs with power, he's got good vision, tough to bring down, he's starting to feel much more confidence in where he is going and what he is doing, which is normal."