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November 20, 2012
In the next-to-last regular season game of fifth-year senior tight end Mario Carter's career, he enjoyed his finest moment in a Wolfpack uniform.
Carter caught seven passes for 105 yards and a touchdown at Clemson last Saturday, easily career-highs in both receptions and receiving yards.
In fact, the yardage total, which more than doubled his previous best of 46 yards set in the season opener against Tennessee, was also a new school record for receiving yards in a game by a tight end.
Carter laments the loss in Death Valley to the Tigers, but he does not deny he was having fun out on the field.
"It was, I knew I was always capable of doing it, just was able to control what I was able to control," Carter noted. "Mike [Glennon] put the ball in the right place. I just made the play."
The totals elevated Carter's season stats to 28 receptions for 315 yards and two scores. That compares to Carter's 10 career catches for 98 yards and one touchdown entering this year.
Saturday is the last time Carter will get a chance to suit up at Carter-Finley Stadium, closing a career that is starting to blossom.
"I'm blessed to be able to come out everyday, to play, to practice," Carter said. "Don't matter what the record says, I'm still happy to play with my teammates every day."
Carter's career was plagued by injuries, including torn ACL's his senior year in high school that essentially forced him to redshirt his first year at NC State, and in 2009 for what would have been his redshirt freshman season.
He also had to play behind three-time All-ACC tight end George Bryan on the depth chart.
This summer though Carter put in the hard work to slim down and get better at the fundamentals.
"I still work in the weight room after practice, catch tennis balls, just work on the little stuff to get better at the little stuff, and then the good stuff comes," he noted.
Carter added that the emotions of Senior Day has not hit him yet, but will "probably hit me when I come out of that tunnel to meet my parents at the 50."
Yet by the time Carter embraces his family at midfield, he will already have looked back on his career with satisfaction.
"I think I can look back and say I did it the way I was supposed to do it," Carter said. "I'm happy with what I did and was able to accomplish."
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