N.C. State’s upset drops No. 12 Florida State to 0-2
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren entered Saturday’s game against No. 12 Florida State with a 27-27 record with the Wolfpack.
But Doeren broke that tie with arguably the biggest win of his career, and he achieved it on Florida State’s home field.
N.C. State stunned the Seminoles 27-21, snapping a four-game losing streak in the series and spoiling Florida State’s home opener that was delayed three weeks by Hurricane Irma.
“The feeling is euphoric,” Doeren said. “I am so proud of our coaching staff. I am so proud of our players.”
North Carolina State (3-1, 1-0 ACC), which entered as a 12-point underdog, never trailed. The Wolfpack got two touchdown passes from senior quarterback Ryan Finley to help the Wolfpack beat the Seminoles (0-2, 0-1) for the first time since the 2012 season.
The game was Florida State’s first in 21 days after Hurricane Irma washed out Weeks 2 and 3 for the Seminoles, whose loss marked the program’s first 0-2 start since 1989, when they opened the season with defeats to Southern Miss and Clemson.
Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher, however, refused to blame the loss on the long break.
“We had two long layoffs, but that’s not an excuse. We also had a lot of time to practice,” said Fisher, who was 7-0 in home openers.
“N.C. State has a very nice football team and they did the things they needed to do to win. They played well in critical moments, and we didn’t finish drives. There’s a lot of good there (on our football team), but there’s still plenty bad.”
Finley connected on scoring throws to receiver Jakobi Meyers and receiver/running back Jaylen Samuels. Finley finished 22 of 32 for 230 yards.
N.C. State linebacker Bradley Chubb had a huge game for the Wolfpack with seven tackles and two sacks, but there was a moment afterward -- when cameras caught him running to midfield and appearing to spit on the Seminoles’ logo -- that Chubb was asked about repeatedly following the win.
“I honestly don’t even remember doing that. I always spit when I‘m playing football,” Chubb said.
“It wasn’t intentional at all. It wasn’t (a) celebration. I celebrated with my teammates, talked to Coach Doeren and then I guess I just spit. I really didn’t mean to. To finally pull it out (and beat Florida State) just really meant a lot to us.”
Florida State kicker Ricky Aguayo cut the Wolfpack’s lead to 27-21 with 3:01 left after linebacker Brian Burns blocked an N.C. State punt. The Seminoles -- who had no timeouts left -- opted to kick off deep, rather than try an onside kick. N.C. State then picked up one first down and ended the game.
Florida State true freshman quarterback James Blackman, replacing Deondre Francois -- who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the opener against No. 1 Alabama -- completed 22 of 38 passes for 278 yards and one touchdown. He also fumbled once in the first half when the Seminoles were threatening to score.
Florida State receiver Auden Tate had nine catches for 138 yards but left in the opening minutes of the third quarter with an apparent arm injury suffered on a 51-yard catch.
“I felt like we were ready, we just didn’t execute. It’s a tough loss,” Burns said. “I preach the word of positivity, even when (Deondre) got hurt. Stay positive. That’s all you really can do. We have nine more games. This is just one game. It’s depressing right now. But I have no doubt we’re going to bounce back.”
After the teams combined to score 27 points in the first half -- with N.C. State taking a 17-10 lead at intermission -- they traded field goals in the third quarter as the Wolfpack led 20-13 going to the final 15 minutes.
Aguayo drilled a 37-yarder in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 20-16.
The Wolfpack answered with 9:16 remaining when Samuels took a 14-yard shovel pass for a touchdown to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive for a 27-16 lead.
The Seminoles got life with 6:26 remaining after Finley botched a shotgun snap and it went out of the end zone for a Florida State safety. But the Seminoles’ offense couldn’t do anything on the ensuing possession, turning the ball over on downs with just over five minutes left in the game.
The N.C. State rushing attack was led by running back Nyheim Hines with 24 carries for 94 yards. Meyers caught five passes for a career-high 112 yards.
Florida State running back Cam Akers rushed 12 times for a team-high 56 yards.
NOTES: Saturday marked the earliest Florida State had faced an ACC opponent in the season since 2009 when it opened the year against Miami. ... N.C. State improved to 5-15 all-time on the road against the Seminoles. ... N.C. State’s Jaylen Samuels’ two touchdowns Saturday were the 37th and 38th of his career, good for fourth on the Wolfpack’s career touchdown list. ... QB James Blackman’s first career touchdown pass was the first thrown by a Seminoles true freshman quarterback since 2001. ... FSU LB Jacob Pugh was ejected late in the third quarter for targeting and he will miss the first half of next week’s game at Wake Forest. ... Saturday’s attendance was 70,541.