Since this is the 40th anniversary of Carter-Finley Stadium, NC State season tickets feature a photo of a different "all-time great" on each ticket. For the BC game, that "great" was perhaps the greatest of all time, former QB Philip Rivers.
And after Daniel Evans' 34-yard, last-gasp touchdown strike to John Dunlap in the northeast corner of the end zone, it was easy to take the ticket photo as a sign, and even easier to make comparisons. After all, Rivers' first-ever start ended with a come-from-behind win, a 38-31 double-overtime thriller against Arkansas State back in September 2000.
Even the man who has coached both players couldn't help but making comparisons, linking Rivers and Evans in post-game conversations.
The fact of the matter is Evans' play on Saturday was very Rivers-like.
But be careful. Read that again. That's not to say that Evans is the next Rivers. (Just because the Florida Marlins' Anibal Sanchez threw a Nolan Ryan-esque no-hitter back on September 6th, it doesn't mean that Sanchez is the next Nolan Ryan.) But Evans' play on Saturday night – especially at the end of the game – was reminiscent of a comeback led by No. 17. As one local writer put it, "Daniel Evans is a North Carolina State legacy, and Saturday night, he came through like a thoroughbred."
What set Rivers apart in his four years at State was that he left a legacy of hope; you always felt like the Pack had a chance with Rivers at the helm.
This wasn't the case with the 2006 Wolfpack a week ago. Just five days ago, any fan could've logically looked at the Pack's remaining schedule and said, "You know? We could quite possibly lose every single one of these games left." Now, a key defensive stop, a quick out and a 34-yard Hail Mary later (not to mention a sad state of affairs in the ACC) and that same person could – in all seriousness – look at the same schedule and say, "You know? We can win the rest of these games!"
The players feel that sense of rejuvenation and rebirth too.
"It's a fresh start for us," tailback Andre Brown told the News & Observer. "We're 1-0, we're near the top. It's a fresh start and you have to love it."
Not to be too dramatic, but it was the composure and confidence Evans showed on Saturday night that gives State fans and players that hope. And in that respect, he can be compared to Philip Rivers.