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Wild comeback gives Wolfpack 17-16 win over No. 3 Florida State

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N.C. State wide receiver Bryan Underwood (80) catches the winning touchdown as Florida State defensive back Terrence Brooks (31) defends. ETHAN HYMAN

Updated 1:54 a.m.

RALEIGH — Down 16 points to the No. 3 team in the country and the best team in the ACC, N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon wasn't ready to give up on the Wolfpack on Saturday night.

After all, in its previous two ACC home games, N.C. State erased a 27-point deficit and beat a top 10-team.
 
So by the time Glennon delivered a 2-yard touchdown to receiver Bryan Underwood with 16 seconds left for an improbable 17-16 win over the third-ranked Seminoles, Glennon wasn't so much surprised as relieved.
 
"It's not like we haven't done it before," Glennon said, a reference to the come back against Maryland and the upset of Clemson last November.
 
"It's a composure that we have. There's no panic and we just kept playing."
 
After starting the ACC season with a 44-37 loss at Miami, and giving up an ACC-record 566 passing yards in the process, the Wolfpack's battered defense appeared to be toast before the Seminoles got to Carter-Finely Stadium.
 
The first half only reinforced the ACC's pecking order as the Noles (5-1, 2-1 ACC) took a 16-0 lead at the half. 
 
But N.C. State's defense was able to put Miami behind them and take a new perspective into the bye week: a 4-2 record and 1-1 mark in the ACC.
 
"We got rid of the Miami thing and got focused on Florida State," N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said. "This is a great win for us."
 
And it was repeat of recent history. The last time the Wolfpack faced Florida State at home? A win.
 
The last time the Wolfpack faced a top 10 team at home (last year against Clemson)? A win.
 
Underwood's touchdown — the third successful fourth-down conversion on the game-winning drive — also gave the Wolfpack its 13th win in its past 15 home games.
 
Glennon, who finished with 259 yards, hit receiver Quintin Payton on fourth and 10 from the 14-yard line to extend the drive. A blocked punt by Mike Rose with 2:27 left set up the Wolfpack's wild win.
 
Twice in the fourth quarter, after N.C. State had cut FSU's lead to 16-10, the Seminoles fast and swarming defense, held the Wolfpack out of the end zone.
 
FSU cornerback Tyler Hunter stopped N.C. State running back Shadrach Thornton five yards short on a fourth-down pass play with 2:47 left in the game.
 
But N.C. State's defense, which struggled on defense in last week's loss at Miami, was able to pressure FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel (four sacks) and force FSU to kick field goals.
 
State's defense gave up an ACC-record 566 passing yards to Miami's Stephen Morris but Manuel, who's in the Heisman Trophy race, was held to 218 with an interception.
 
Senior running back Chris Thompson had 115 of his 141 yards in the first half. He accounted for 71 of 80 yards on FSU's only touchdown drive of the game.
 
Manuel threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick O'Leary but it was the Noles' only touchdown of the night.
 
FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins hit from 49, 20 and 36 in the first half while the Seminoles' fast, swarming defense held N.C. State to 68 yards and four first downs.
 
N.C. State had a season-low 166 yards in last year's 34-0 loss at Florida State. The Wolfpack's offense found life in the second half after an interception by freshman cornerback Juston Burris.
 
Burris stepped in front of a Manuel pass interned for receiver Kelvin Benjamin and returned it 11 yards to the Wolfpack's 41-yard line.
 
Given the short field, N.C. State took advantage of the FSU defense with a 24-yard touchdown from Glennon to Thornton.
 
"That was a big play by our defense," Glennon said. "It really gave us an opportunity to get back in the game."
 
Thornton's touchdown, his third in the past two home games, at 13:47 in the fourth quarter cut FSU's lead to 16-10.
 
On the next possession, FSU drove the ball down N.C. State's 19-yard line but on third-and-2, Johnson sacked Manuel for a 15-yard loss.
 
The Pack got the ball back, and picked up two first downs, but the drive stalled at its own 40.
 
State's defense held and got the ball back with 4:35 left and Glennon found Payton for a pair of first downs.
 
The Pack's drive reached FSU's 36-yard line but on third-and-10, Glennon missed tight end Asa Watson and on fourth down, Glennon hit Thornton but for only five yards.
 
N.C. State's defense forced another punt and got the big play it needed, the block from Rose, and then the clutch fourth-down conversions from Glennon, first to Payton and then to Underwood for the game-winner.

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State Win

I have noticed over the past few seasons that the Pack often loses the game following a big victory like this one.  Maryland loves to play us after a win over UNC. The Pack needs to be certain to have their game face on next weekend.

who

I saw most of this one. Seemed like neither team wanted to win at times. Until State at the end of course. Good win for the Pack, although neither team seemed that overly impressive for the game as a whole.

Jeff Gordon

Are you kin to Jeff Gordon? Both of you are practitioners of the backhanded comment. 

I'd say a win over the #3 ranked team is more impressive than a very overrated VT team. 

overrated

Uh, not sure that VT was overrated (very?), were they even ranked? As for FSU at #3? They sure didn't look like it, but yes, a win over a "ranked" team is "better" than a win over an unranked team. State was impressive at the end of the game, FSU was not.

Va tech

The Hokies aren't over-rated any more. Everyone knows they stink. It took UNC a while to put them away, but they did, thanks to Gio Bernard. That kid is amazing. It seemed to me that it was more Va Tech being bad than UNC being good, except for Bernard, who gives UNC a chance as long as he is healthy.

NC State has its issues too, but that was a gutsy performance by a defense that was overmatched. They kept it close enough for the offense to pull through. Great penetration on that punt block too. Excellent night at Carter-Finley.

Have to admit

That I didnt the Pack much of a chance in this game and was surprised that FSU couldn't put them away. However, historically NCSU seems to have FSUs number regardless of their ranking. After watching FSU tear apart Clemson on the second half, I thought the FSU looked capable of competing for NC. Whenever there are articles about TOB getting caned, he appears to pull a rabbit out of his hat.
As to UNC. It's true that VT is not the team of past years. However this was a historic win. Beamer had never lost in the state of NC as a VT coach. For Fedora this is a signature win and a confidence builder for this team that is still learning a new offense and defensive scheme. It's becoming apparent that UNC can out score most of their opponents. Huge test at Miami.
Congrats to the Pack for a potentially season saving
Win

Agree

Gio was impressive, but he had help from a lot of other guys, as well.

Both State and FSU had issues. Yes, a great win for the Pack, but I will stick with my original premise, neither team looked that impressive for the game as a whole. 

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holding!

you can't put yourself into a hole against FSU!

need a break

need a break on offense to get back inti the game.

you can't make that penality

you can't make that penality against FSU and have much of a chance to be competitive.

gevalia - about as expected.

gevalia - about as expected. At least we are not beating ourselves with errors and penalities. That's why we are still within sight of FSU.

Thoughts from the parking lot

1) FIRE DANA BIBLE. Attrocious play calling. 

2) Defense is actually doing all they can and playing well given their extended time on the field. 

3) Gonna finish my Budweiser and head on back in to see if somehow Dana Bible has figured out what a slant route, quick screen, or wheel route is and how all of those are affective against teams like FSU. 

OK GO WOLFPACK! 

YAR

Trust you made it back in and stayed til the end. Yeah, I called this one (see the post about the decimated O-Line). Only me and Chris Fowler gave the Pack a chance. I needed this one, 'cause my Penguins got pounded today. My son and I also took in most of the Tar Heel game at Kenan, so it was a football saturated day, and a good one.

Great game at Carter-Finley, but very wierd too. The Pack's D kept them in it, as FSU just couldn't put them away. State got lucky here and there, but they never gave up. FSU also once again proved that you play win, instead of playing not to lose. We couldn't believe they punted instead of trying a late field goal to make it a two possession game. Then they ran three times to force State to use all their time outs, instead of passing on third down (where they had some success).

A anyway, great win for the Pack and a great way to end this year's trip to Raleigh. Go Pack!!!!!

Random Thoughts...

I made it back in. Mainly I made it back in because I was ready to decimate a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. Not because I or any of the 59,000 other folks in C-F remotely thought the Pack was going to come back and get the W. 

Credit to the defense. Folks can say what they want about FSU's playcalling, but the Wolfpack made the stops on the plays FSU called. Awesome effort by the D. I may be wrong about this, but I really don't think Amerson was targeted all night. 

The offensive line, as decimated as they are, played their absolute best game of the year. Outstanding play by each and every one of those guys. 

If I'm Glennon, I'm begging the coaching staff to run an up tempo still offense. Mike clearly gets in a better rhythm when it's run that way. 

My heart took a lot of damage last night with the anxiety of that last drive. Whew. 

Alright. This win's nice. I'm glad the Pack gets next week off. Because they're set up perfectly for a let down. If I'm TOB I give the team tomorrow off and then come back to practice ready to get the first win on the road against an Atlantic division opponent in the TOB era. 

OK GO WOLFPACK! 

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.
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