NC State fans at a football game in Carter Finley stadium

It’s Game Time at NC State!

football in the grassIn just four days, the highlight of the fall semester kicks off at 6 PM.

That’s right, NC State football season starts this Saturday! Are you ready for game day?

Game days are a cornerstone of student life at State, and as a commuter you can experience this time-honored tradition for basically free! So if you’ve never been to a Wolfpack football game (or never been as a State student), here’s your overview of the football lifestyle.

Football is a Way of Life at NC State

There’s nothing quiet like Saturday night football. Well, Saturday all-day football. Tailgating at Carter-Finley Stadium starts well before gates even open for seating.

Just take in the sweet, savory smell of sizzling BBQ and Bojangle’s in the air and the crunching sound of gravel under your cowboy boots. And then the band plays “Red & White,” and you’re at home.

The football lifestyle is like what foxhunting or the derby is in other areas — it’s ingrained into the local culture, with its own dress code and set schedule. As cliche as it sounds, football isn’t just a game, it’s a way of life at NC State and in Raleigh.

Everything You Need to Know About Game Day

If this is your first time at NC State, you need to request your student ticket — which is free, I might add — and get yourself a coveted seat among your peers at the gigantic off-campus stadium.

Parking and Game-Day Pickup at NC State

If you’re driving to campus, you’re in luck. Parking is free on Saturdays in most places. So find yourself a spot in Dan Allen Deck or Coliseum Deck right next to the bus stops for the Red Terror line.

The Wolfline at NC State has a special bus service that goes to Carter-Finley on game days, starting 3 hours before kickoff and running every 30 minutes to pick up students from these locations:

  • DH Hill Library next to Hillsborough Street
  • Carmichael Gym at Morrill Drive
  • Witherspoon Student Center

The bus stops outside of Carter-Finley Stadium at Gate B, then makes a loop back to campus. The shuttle runs after NC State games end and for another 90 minutes after that.

You could also choose to walk to and from the game. I’ve done it, and it takes about an hour. It’s an option if you don’t want to stand on a crowded bus, especially after the football game.

Inexpensive Tailgating Eats

Stadium food is expensive. Game day of all days is the time to save money.

Several campus clubs and Greek organizations host their own tailgates on Saturdays, and may offer a plate full of BBQ goodness for very cheap.

NC State fans at a football game in Carter Finley stadiumA True Fan Experience

You can also check out the NC State Fan Zone outside of PNC Arena before football games. Get free stuff, snap a picture of game day memories, and snag a few samples of free food! In the past, there have been live bands and all sorts of football fun. Plus, the Power Sound of the South marches right past the Fan Zone to hype you up for the adrenaline-filled game ahead.

Don’t Forget About the “Cardiac Pack”

You can’t underestimate the power of the underdog. The Wolfpack has come back from a 27-point deficit in years past, and we’ve won games at the last second, earning the well-deserved nickname “Cardiac Pack” for the adrenaline highs and pseudo heart attacks that we all feel in the stands as our football team inches ever closer to the endzone.

Every game is destined to be exciting, whether we win or lose. And even if we lose, we’re still proud to be part of the NC State Wolfpack.

Enjoy the Game on Saturday!

As a commuter student, you don’t want to miss out on all the excitement at NC State football games! Score some free food and a free ride to the stadium, and make sure you make the most of your free tickets. This is one of NC State’s finest student traditions — have fun!

What are your favorite game day traditions and memories? Share them in the comments below!


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