The losing reached its peak last season when Boston College thumped the Wolfpack 52-20 in Chestnut Hill. Irving, who was sidelined for that game and the entire 2009 season due to injuries sustained in a car wreck, knows that it was a tough loss but believes the Wolfpack can't allow emotions or thoughts of revenge to get in the way of the task at hand.
"It's not like that," said Irving. "Football is not a game of revenge. If you go into it with revenge on your mind you're liable to be upset again.
"We'll just go in there trying to execute our defense and do what we do on offense to win the game."
Having Irving back and healthy will definitely improve the Wolfpack's chances against the Eagles. In last year's win Boston College tailback Montel Harris had a career game, rushing for an astounding 264 yards and five touchdowns. A lot of his runs came running downhill and through the middle of NC State's defensive front.
Senior middle linebacker Ray Michel was injured early in the Boston College game, and it opened up a hole that the Eagles exploited. Irving, now the Pack's starting middle linebacker, will provide an even bigger challenge as he is playing at an extremely high level.
Through five games Irving has totaled 40 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, four quarterback pressures, three sacks, and a forced fumble, but has really turned it on lately. In the Pack's past two games, he has tallied 29 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, and three sacks, outstanding numbers for a linebacker.
After transitioning to middle linebacker from weakside in the offeseason, Irving appears to be finding his groove. However, he knows for NC State's defense to be successful it isn't just about him. All 11 players must work as a unit to reach their goals.
"We've got to execute our assignments," said Irving. "Trust the defense. The defense we've been playing got us to 4-0, and I think it will help us win the game on Saturday."
A win Saturday would improve NC State's record to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the ACC, giving Tom O'Brien his best start in Raleigh. It will also be his first victory over his former team, something that O'Brien joked has to happen someday.
"I've never beaten a lot of people, so we just have to keep working," he said, laughing. "It's going to happen someday... hopefully this Saturday."
"[A win] would help us feel like we lifted a monkey off his back, with that being his old school," Irving said of O'Brien.
O'Brien acknowledges his time at Boston College but admits that the emotions towards the game weaken as time moves on. He's been a member of several staffs, and as his players matriculate out of the program so do his ties to the individual school.
"It fades as time goes on," O'Brien said of his emotions. "I think there are seven players [at BC] that were there that we recruited that play for them now, so a lot of it's turned over.
"Having gone from Navy to Virginia and Virginia to BC and then to here, you play each other, but the longer the time goes on, the less your ties are to programs because of the players."
Emotions can fade but the feeling of a loss can linger. NC State suffered its first loss on Saturday and it left a bad taste in Irving's mouth.
"I take a loss personally," he said. "I don't like losing. I can be called a sore loser... I don't think you can take a loss and say it's just another game."
NC State is now 13-5 with Nate Irving in the starting lineup. With him healthy and on the field they will have a shot every Saturday.