Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien talks with C.J. Wilson (20) in the second half against Georgia Tech. ETHAN HYMAN - email@example.com
The Tom O’Brien job watch ended Saturday.
It’s not completely official yet, of course.
It’ll probably be a few more weeks before new N.C. State athletics director Debbie Yow rewards the fourth-year football coach with a job extension.
But for all practical purposes, O’Brien turned the corner with State’s 45-28 win over defending ACC champion and 8-point favorite Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
A preseason pick to finish a distant fourth in the ACC Atlantic Division, the Pack moved to 4-0 overall, 1-0 in the league and should be favored in three approaching games against Virginia Tech, Boston College and ECU.
Given a healthy Russell Wilson at quarterback for the rest of the schedule, it’s completely within reason that State will win at least eight or nine games, challenge for a berth in the conference championship game and bag a nice bowl bid.
After three straight losing seasons and a 9-15 record in league play, O’Brien began the season amid much speculation after Yow and chancellor Randy Woodson moved into primary administrative jobs during the off-season.
Wilson, a redshirt junior and a pro baseball player in the Colorado Rockies system, probably is in his final season of football.
He may not be back in 2011, but Wilson will go down not only as one of the school’s all-time best players but also the pivotal figure in his coach’s survival.