Highlights and lowlights Tom O’Brien’s career at N.C. State

November 25, 2012 

Dec. 8, 2006

N.C. State introduces Tom O’Brien as its football coach. O’Brien went 75-45 in 10 seasons at Boston College before being hired by then-N.C. State athletic director Lee Fowler.

Sept. 1, 2007

O’Brien loses his first game at N.C. State, 25-22, to Central Florida. UCF running back Kevin Smith ran for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. A week later, O’Brien returns to Boston College for his first ACC game with N.C. State. The Pack loses 37-17.

Nov. 10, 2007

N.C. State beats North Carolina, 31-27, in Raleigh to end a three-year losing streak to the Tar Heels.

Nov. 24, 2007

With a trip a bowl game on the line, N.C. State gets shut out by Maryland, 37-0, at home, to finish O’Brien’s first season with a 5-7 record.

Nov. 22, 2008

N.C. State goes to UNC and beats the 25th-ranked Tar Heels, 41-10, to complete a 4-0 record against in-state opponents.

“We’re the best football program in the state, without question,” O’Brien said after the game.

A week later, the Wolfpack beat Miami to clinch a spot in the Papajohns.com Bowl, where it ended the 2008 season with a 29-23 loss to Rutgers.

Oct. 17, 2009

Beset by injuries and inexperience on defense, N.C. State gets blown out at home by Duke, 49-28, in an incredible performance by Blue Devils quarterback Thad Lewis. The Pack defense gives up 52, 45, 43 and 38 points in its next four ACC losses to be eliminated from bowl eligibility.

Nov. 28, 2009

With a near flawless performance from quarterback Russell Wilson, the Wolfpack upsets No. 23 North Carolina 28-27 in the season finale. Wilson was 20 of 27 for 259 yards with four touchdowns against UNC, which had the top defense in the ACC.

Sept. 25, 2010

N.C. State starts 4-0 with a 45-28 road win over Georgia Tech, the 2009 ACC champion, to reach the national rankings (No. 23) for the first time under O’Brien.

The Wolfpack would alternate wins and losses in ACC play for the next six weeks.

Nov. 20, 2010

In one of the best games in series history, the Wolfpack tops the Tar Heels, 29-25 in Chapel Hill. Russell Wilson’s “2-yard Hail Mary” to Owen Spencer and T.J. Graham’s 87-yard punt return highlight the Wolfpack win, the fourth straight under O’Brien.

Nov. 27, 2010

With the Atlantic Division title at stake, N.C. State loses 38-31 at Maryland to miss out on a chance to play for its first ACC title since 1979.

The Pack ends the season with a 23-7 win over West Virginia in the Champs Bowl and closes the season in the final AP top 25 (at No. 25) for the first time since 2002.

April 29, 2011

O’Brien grants quarterback Russell Wilson a release of his scholarship at N.C. State. O’Brien and Wilson disagreed with Wilson’s need to attend spring practice. Wilson, who played minor league baseball that summer, transferred to Wisconsin for the 2011 season, where he led the Badgers to a Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl.

Wilson is now the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.

Sept. 22, 2011

N.C. State gets rolled by Cincinnati 44-14 in the Thursday night spotlight game, during which ESPN spends most of the broadcast criticizing O’Brien for letting Wilson transfer to Wisconsin.

Nov. 5, 2011

N.C. State shuts out North Carolina, 13-0, O’Brien’s fifth consecutive win in the series. A war of words preceded the game with interim UNC coach Everett Withers questioning the graduation rate at N.C. State and proclaiming UNC as the “flagship” university of the state. O’Brien fired back that UNC had committed a “triple play” of NCAA violations under former coach Butch Davis.

Nov. 12, 2011

As had become the pattern, N.C. State followed an emotional win over UNC with a difficult loss. The Pack lost at Boston College, 14-10. The Eagles ended the season with a 4-8 record.

One week later, the Pack rebounded to beat No. 7 Clemson, 38-13, to save its bowl hopes.

Nov. 16, 2011

After trailing Maryland 41-14, N.C. State makes the biggest comeback in school history to beat the Terrapins, 56-41 to clinch a spot in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. N.C. State closed the season with a 31-24 win over Louisville and an 8-5 record.

Aug. 31, 2012

After O’Brien calls his sixth team his “deepest and most experienced,” it comes out flat in a 35-21 loss to Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta.

Oct. 6, 2012

A week after losing a shootout to Miami, N.C. State’s defense comes back to lead to a 17-16 win over No. 3 Florida State. It was the only ACC game the Seminoles lost all season.

Oct. 27, 2012

N.C. State recovers from another flat start and takes a 35-25 fourth-quarter lead over UNC, but it can’t close out the Tar Heels for the first six-game winning streak in the series. Gio Bernard’s punt return with 13 seconds left lifts the Tar Heels to a 43-35 win, the first loss for O’Brien in the series.

Nov. 3, 2012

On the same field it beat ACC leader FSU, the Wolfpack gets drilled by Virginia, a team on a six-game losing streak, 33-6. The Cavaliers finished the season with a 2-6 ACC record.

Nov. 24, 2012

O’Brien’s last ACC opponent is the same as his first. The Wolfpack beats Boston College, 27-10 to finish 7-5, but it’s not enough for O’Brien to save his job.

Nov. 25, 2012

N.C. State fires O’Brien

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