The 1971 NC State football team struggled to a 3-8 record. But that struggle was quickly erased when Lou Holtz took over as head coach the following season, leading the team to second-place finish in the ACC with a 7-3-1 record.
And on this day in 1972, the Wolfpack got its eighth victory that season, winning its first-ever Peach Bowl (now known as the Chick-fil-A Bowl) with a 49-13 burying of Bobby Bowden’s West Virginia Mountaineers.
Freshman backup quarterback Dave Buckey found himself under center after starter Bruce Shaw broke his arm in practice. All Buckey did that December day was throw for two touchdowns and run for one.
The game capped the first of four successful campaigns for Holtz, who bolted for the NFL and the New York Jets in 1975. And that 1972 Peach Bowl also gave the legendary coach a win against his home state’s flagship university.
Bryan Wall, a linebacker on the ’72 squad, recounted in the 1973 Agromeck what Holtz said at a banquet about West Virgina. “I was born in the state of West Virginia,” Wall credited Holtz with saying. “I left at the age of seven–the age of reasoning. When I was in Ohio I told everybody I was proud to be from West Virginia, and then this guy told me the only good thing to come out of West Virginia was an empty bus.”