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.”
10/7/1967: State Football Goes Big Time
By Dick Celley ’68
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have a memory you want to share? Send it to us at email@example.com.