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Ray Robinson and the Wolfpack staged an incredible second-half comeback against Maurice White and the Golden Gophers. AP
Down 24-0, N.C. State roars back to beat Gophers
N.C. State used yet another comeback to win the Micronpc.com Bowl. The Wolfpack, who rallied for five fourth-quarter wins during the regular season, spotted Minnesota a 24-point lead, then roared back behind Philip Rivers and Koren Robinson to beat the Golden Gophers 38-30. Minnesota led 24-8 at the half, but wasted a Micron Bowl-record 246-yard rushing performance from Tellis Redmon.
Record: 6-5, 4-4 Big Ten
Coach: Glen Mason (fourth season, 22-24; 81-88-1 overall)
Key players: RB Tellis Redmon (1,122 yards), C Ben Hamilton (84 pancakes), DE Karon Riley (13 sacks)
Season summary: The Gophers got off to an impressive 5-2 start then limped to the finish, barely handling Iowa in their finale to gain bowl eligibility. The main culprit during that rough stretch was the defense, the lowest point coming when it surrendered 611 yards to Indiana in a 51-43 loss. But with a rested, healthy defense, the Gophers are tough. Redmon and QBs Travis Cole and Assad Abdl-Kaliq lead a dynamic offense and K Dan Nystrom is one of the nation's best.
Record: 7-4, 4-4 ACC
Coach: Chuck Amato (first season)
Key players: QB Philip Rivers (3,054 yards, 25 TDs), WR Koren Robinson (1,880 all-purpose yards, 14 TDs), LB Levar Fisher (158 tackles)
Season summary: The young Wolfpack were expected to struggle, but no one anticipated the success of true freshman Rivers, who led NCSU to three overtime and/or comeback wins in the first four games. Robinson is a dangerous playmaker whose return from a first-half suspension single-handedly lifted the Pack over Wake Forest in the finale. They did struggle a bit down the stretch, losing three of five.