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Super Bowl: Former N.C. State players enjoy big night

Scott Fowler is a national award-winning sports columnist for The Charlotte Observer.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. It was a big day for the four former N.C. State football players in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Russell Wilson was the winning quarterback, throwing two touchdown passes, never committing a turnover and leading his team beautifully. In only his second year in the NFL, as the leader of a team that is also very young, Wilson already has the Super Bowl ring that quarterbacks such as Dan Marino and Fran Tarkenton never got.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Wilson said. “I think about being 5-foot-11, and so many people told me I couldn’t do it.”

Kicker Steven Hauschka scored 11 points as he was perfect on two short field goals and five extra points. Hauschka even recovered a fumble on one of his kickoffs – although the recovery was overturned on review.

Seattle offensive guard J.R. Sweezy (once a linebacker at Mooresville High and then a defensive tackle at N.C. State) started for the Seahawks and will also get a well-deserved Super Bowl ring.

Denver linebacker Nate Irving played for the losing team that got whipped by 35 points. Irving knocked a ball out of a receiver’s hands in the end zone to save a touchdown, however.

• You know the big deal Seattle makes about its fans being the “12th man,” right? Here’s something cool to add to that theme: The Seahawks scored exactly 12 seconds into the first and second halves (on a safety and a kickoff return).

• Besides Denver, the other big loser was the average NFL fan. After getting spoiled with a lot of very close Super Bowls over the past decade, this one turned into one of the least dramatic in history.

• Seattle’s lopsided win makes Carolina’s 12-7 opening-day loss to the Seahawks in September look a little better in retrospect, doesn’t it?

• The Panthers have hosted Wilson and Seattle two years in a row, and lost both games. Carolina will host Seattle again in 2014 in a game the Panthers had better win if they want to avoid playing at the defending Super Bowl champion’s home in the playoffs. And you’ve got to bet that Seattle-Carolina game in Charlotte will be a Sunday or Monday night game.

• It was reported before the game by ESPN that Denver coach John Fox was due to receive a $1 million bonus – but only if the Broncos won the Super Bowl. Fox won’t get that, but despite the loss the Broncos have been very pleased with his performance. He will likely receive a contract extension soon.

• About the only thing Denver really did a good job with was stopping running back Marshawn Lynch, who had 15 carries for 39 yards. However, he scored a touchdown.

When Lynch was asked afterward if it was the best day of his life, he said: “Next to being born.”

Fowler: sfowler@charlotteobserver.com; Twitter: @scott_fowler
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