“State Football Goes Big Time”

October 1, 2010
By Cherry Crayton

The NC State football team, ranked No. 23 in the AP poll, hosts Virginia Tech Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium at 3:30 p.m. If you have tickets to the game, join us for a pre-game tailgate on the East Terrace of the RBC Center. If you can’t make it to Raleigh, check out this list to see if one of our Alumni Networks in your area will gather for a game-viewing party.

On the eve of the big NC State/Va.Tech game, Dick Celley ’68 sent us his memory of a football game from more than 40 years ago and the effects of the big win. He asked us to share it with you. Here’s his essay, which he titles:  “10/7/1967: State Football Goes Big Time.”

The 1967 NC State football team. (Image courtesy of Special Collections, NCSU Libraries)

The 1967 NC State football team. (Image courtesy of Special Collections, NCSU Libraries)

10/7/1967:  State Football Goes Big Time

By Dick Celley ’68

Red’s Place
I was one of “Red’s boys.” Red was Red Campbell, the proprietor of The College Grill, a beer and sandwich shop on Hillsborough Street. I worked part time at lunch, and one or two nights during the week from five to midnight. If I wasn’t doing anything academic, I was probably on one side of the bar or the other at Red’s. Red was what you’d call a character. Three of us and Red went to New York City for a quick visit once. He took us to Jimmy Ryan’s, a jazz joint in Manhattan. Red had a friend from the old days named “Suicide” Charley working there. On our way out, Red called to Charley to have a nice night. Charley replied that he would have whatever kind of a night he felt like. In the moment, we realized that Red had been doing Charley’s act back in Raleigh. And so it was that Saturday as we listened to the State/Houston radio broadcast.

Beat Houston
Coach Earl Edwards was primarily a 3 yards and a cloud of dust guy, and State ran a Wing T offence. Houston had a super tailback named Warren McVea. McVea had broken the color line in Houston football and had been terrorizing defenses ever since, including a beat down of Wake Forest 50–6 the previous weekend. State’s defense had several very good players including some future pros and All Americans. And we had Terry Brookshire ’68. Terry was a friend of a friend, and I have seen what he could do to a large pizza. Playing middle guard that night, he stuffed Mr. McVea, blocked an extra point attempt, recovered a fumble, and was named Sports Illustrated Lineman of the week.

Aftermath
Now before the game, Houston was rated No.  2 in the country. So if we just beat No. 2, duh, we must be No. 1. We exited our barstools and dorm rooms in a rush to proclaim to everyone in West Raleigh that State was No. 1. I can’t remember for how long, but it was glorious.

Where Do We Stand?
In 1967, we didn’t have national sports shows, instant media, and the other things we have now. The wire services printed rankings in the weekend papers, but who could wait that long? Certainly not us. So the ritual became muster at Red’s Thursday night, and score a Sports Illustrated as they were being dropped off for the city at the Trailways  Bus Station, usually about 9:30. Then back to Red’s to discuss. State won their first eight games that year, so we were always climbing over someone, or should have.

Penn State
It was a great game, solidly played, and we lost by a touchdown with their goal line a few feet away. Due to the interest spurred on by the eight-game winning streak, the school helped to organize a closed circuit telecast of the game in Reynolds Coliseum. They even had an audio feed from Raleigh to the Wolfpack bench. Alas and alack, it’s back to Red’s to commiserate. Then we lost again the following week at Clemson.

Going Bowling
State was selected to play in the Liberty Bowl, one of the top seven or eight bowls in that era. Georgia was a preseason No. 6 pick, and we beat them 14–7. In spite of the good outcome, there was a sideshow that crowded out everything while it lasted. The game was national on ABC and called by their top announcer Chris Schenkel. From the pregame until five minutes into the second half, Mr. Schenkel referred to the State team as “Carolina.” Ouch! Finally someone’s call got through and he apologized on the air.

The Last Word

Sports Illustrated had a post Bowl Game poll. NC State was put at No. 7. Big Time.

The NC State football team and "white shoes defense" defeated Georgia in the 1967 Liberty Bowl. (Image courtesy of Special Collections, NCSU Libraries)

The NC State football team and "white shoes defense" defeated Georgia in the 1967 Liberty Bowl. (Image courtesy of Special Collections, NCSU Libraries)

Have a memory you want to share? Send it to us at alumniblog@gw.ncsu.edu.

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2 Responses to ““State Football Goes Big Time””

  1. Norm Cates says:

    Hello Dick Celley and Cherry Crayton,

    I came across this terrific article and wanted to thank you for posting it ! I enjoyed reading Dick’s piece and I was thrilled to have my memory renewed that Sports Illustrated had rated our ’67 Team #7 after the season.

    One side note. We narrowly missed being ranked either #1 or #2 that year. All it would have taken was for our running back, Tony Barchuk, to have hit the 5 foot wide hole that Carey Metts (Center) and I (Left Guard) opened up and we would have won that Penn State game. We were only about one yard out and Tony just missed the hole. The #1 and #2 teams ahead of us won and lost that day. So, we would have gone at least to #2 and I’ll believe until the day I die that we would have kicked Clemson’s butt the following weekend, had we not been, as a team, so down after the Penn State loss. Such is life!

    Thanks for putting the article up!

    Norm Cates
    #66 – Guard – 1867 Big Time Football Team
    Club Insider Publisher Since 1993
    http://www.clubinsideronline.com

  2. Kelly Brookshire Williamson says:

    Enjoyed digging around the internet to find pictures of my dad, TERRY BROOKSHIRE, #62. I was born while he was playing for NC State in 1965. Heard a few stories over the years of his football days before his unexpected death in 2006. Went to the game this past weekend (9/17/11) and it stirred up the desire to dig around some and made me miss him more. If you have any good stories about him, would love to hear them and share them with my kids. They, as well as the rest of the family, miss him dearly!

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