1992 Peach Bowl Recap
East Carolina 37, NC State 34
On the last day of the college football season and the first day of the New Year, NC State squared off against an old nemesis, East Carolina. From the first play to the very last, when Damon Hartman’s 49-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right to give ECU a 37-34 win, the 1992 Peach Bowl between the Wolfpack and the Pirates proved to be one of the most exciting bowl games of the year.
NC State got off to a quick start. After stopping the Pirates on three plays to open the game, the Pack took over on its own 32 and marched down field for the game’s opening score. Tailback Anthony Barbour led the way, carrying for gains of nine, 15 and eight before Gary Downs scored from two yards out to give the Pack a 7-0 lead with 7:50 remaining in the opening quarter.
East Carolina, behind the passing and scrambling of quarterback Jeff Blake, answered right back, covering 57 yards on six plays. The last play of the drive tied the game, a five-yard toss from Blake to Cedric Van Buren in the end zone.
It quickly became obvious that this was going to be a high-scoring game when NC State answered the Pirates’ quick drive with another long scoring drive of its own. Again the Pack went to the ground game, biting off chunks of yardage seven, eight and 19 yards at a time, moving all the way to the ECU 19 as the first quarter expired. Finally, Jordan capped off the drive with a four-yard pass to tight end Todd Harrison, giving the Pack a 14-7 lead.
After a trade of possessions, the Pirates put together another drive, which netted a 27-yard field goal from Anthony Brenner.
Minutes later, the Pirates struck again. This time, Blake found Hunter Gallimore down the sidelines for a 55-yard touchdown pass as ECU went into the locker room with a 17-14 lead.
Much as it did to open the game, NC State came out strong to begin the second half, grinding out yardage on the ground. Barbour, who finished with 90 yards rushing for the day, got things going again, picking up 20 yards on three carries as the Pack drove to the 14 yard line. Jordan then hit Robert Hinton, who put on a spin move and ran in from 10 yards out to give State the lead again at 21-17.
The Pack added another touchdown a few minutes later, when Greg Manior plunged into the end zone. Manior’s one-yard rush capped a nine-play, 71-yard drive.
The Pack defense stifled the Pirates again on the next possession, and State regained control of the ball as the game entered the final period. Then the Pack went for the knockout punch, as Jordan lateraled to Ledel George, who in turn fired a long pass to senior receiver Charles Davenport. Davenport, double-covered by the Pirates, managed to break away and make the 52-yard touchdown reception.
But the East Carolina offense, specifically Blake, began to click. An interception by Mike Reid halted one drive, but Blake quickly started another, driving the Pirates 32 yards on seven plays. Blake finished the drive himself, scoring on a keeper from two yards out to pull the Pirates to within 10 points of tying the Pack.
ECU’s defense stiffened and the Pirates got the ball back on their own 20 with 6:24 to play. Blake led his team on another long scoring drive, connecting with Dion Johnson for a 10-yard touchdown pass. ECU’s two-point try was unsuccessful, and the score stood at 34-30 with 4:18 to go. Minutes later, Blake gave his team the lead when he hit Jon Fisher on a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Taking over at the 29, State engineered one last drive. Jordan completed three consecutive passes to Chris Williams as State moved across midfield. After a sack, Jordan passed to Hinton for a 23-yard gain to the ECU 31 with six seconds left. Hartman then attempted a 49-yard field goal to tie the game, but his kick went wide right as the Pirates hung on to win a heartstopper.
NCSU Downs 2 run (Hartman kick)