Thursday night was a huge opportunity for N.C. State to make a statement as a program on national television, and the school was up to the task in terms of atmosphere.
The crowd packed the stands and was louder than it has been at any time during coach Tom O'Brien's tenure. The school ratcheted up the intensity, too, by honoring David Thompson during a second-quarter timeout in recognition of his upcoming induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
The big question entering the game was whether Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder had recovered from a ruptured bursa sac in his right (throwing) elbow.
Ponder quickly demonstrated plenty of arm strength on a deep pass that was broken up by C.J. Wilson and another that should have been intercepted by Wilson but ricocheted off his chest and fell incomplete.
N.C. State starting running back Dean Haynes had a difficult night.
His second-quarter fumble at the Wolfpack 18-yard-line led to a Florida State go-ahead touchdown. Nigel Bradham caused the fumble by putting his helmet on the ball, and Florida State scored five plays later.
Later in the quarter, it was announced that Haynes was out for the remainder of the game with a suspected concussion.
It wasn't the same this week watching Florida State play without Bobby Bowden.
Bowden, who was ousted after last season, wasn't just one of the best football coaches in the nation for more than a generation. He was a master communicator with a great sense of humor who made covering Florida State fun.
His successor, Jimbo Fisher, is off to a good start. But nobody can match Bowden in terms of personality.