Holtz returns to familiar place Saturday

Skip Holtz returns to a familiar setting this weekend.

Holtz and the Bulldogs will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, this weekend to face No. 23 ranked North Carolina State. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. CT and the game can be seen on the ACCN+ or ESPN+.

The Wolfpack (3-1) are coming off a 27-21 double overtime win over previously No. 9 ranked Clemson this past Saturday and Holtz knows his team is in for quite a challenge.

“The task doesn’t get any easier this week,” Holtz told reporters during his normal Tuesday press conference. “Dave Doeren does a great job with that program. He’s been there quite a while and he’s done a really nice job. Right now, he has one of his better football teams that he’s had.

“They had a huge win last week against Clemson. When you look at this football team, the word solid comes to mind. They’re just really solid in everything they’re doing. They’re playing with a lot of upperclassmen.”

Tech (2-2) is coming off a 24-17 win against North Texas Saturday in the Conference USA opener for the Bulldogs. This Saturday’s game marks the final non-conference contest for Tech, which will then have a bye week before playing seven straight league games.

Holtz’s first game as the Bulldogs head coach in 2013 came in Raleigh (NC State won 40-14). Coincidentally, it was the first game for Doeren as head coach of the Wolfpack. Both coaches enter their ninth seasons with their respective programs, tied for the 14th longest current streak among FBS head coaches.

Raleigh holds a special place in Holtz’s memories as his father Lou served as the head coach of the Wolfpack from 1972 through 1975. Lou is still the all-time winningest coach (percentage-wise) in the history of the NC State program.

“There are memories there,” said Holtz. “I was eight to 12 years old when I grew up in Raleigh. I remember the Wolfpack and the huskie dog, and those are great memories for me. It was kind of weird to go back there (in 2013). All of a sudden, I am on the visitor’s sideline. I’m on the other side after spending so much time (on the home side) as a little boy growing up in that program. Great memories for me, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to go back.”

That excitement will turn to competitiveness comes Saturday when the Bulldogs take the field at Carter-Finley Stadium (57,500).

“When you look at it, it’s going to be a tall order for us going to Raleigh,” said Holtz. “But it’s one we’re really excited about getting into this week, stepping back out of the conference, learning a little bit more about our football team. I look forward to watching us compete on the road in a very loud, energetic stadium.

“It’s a great challenge for us this week. After this week, we’ll get into the open date and really have a time to look back and review the first five games and some things we have to do in the second half as we really get into the conference race.”

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