Quick hits and notes from NC State's 28-24 win over No. 15 Florida State Thursday night in front of 56,807 fans at Carter-Finley Stadium.
The winner of this game in essence controlled their destiny in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. A loss to NC State would have hurt the Pack more however probably than the loss hurts FSU. With the win the Wolfpack goes to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the ACC, and NC State fans can now legitimately think about winning the division. Florida State falls to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the ACC. NC State has road dates left against Clemson, UNC and Maryland and a home contest against Wake Forest.
Florida State's remaining schedule includes home games against UNC and Clemson and a road date at Maryland before closing the season at home out of conference against archrival Florida.
The win also makes NC State bowl eligible for the first time since 2008. Scouts from the Chick-fil-a Bowl in Atlanta and Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando were in attendance today.
Beating the Noles
Florida State was actually the first ranked opponent NC State has faced this year. NC State has now won two straight games against ranked teams going back to the 28-27 win over No. 23 North Carolina in the 2009 season finale. Tom O'Brien improved his record to 5-4 against ranked opponents in his four seasons at NC State.
The Pack also snaps a three-game losing streak to Florida State. NC State improves their record to 2-3 all-time on Thursday night against the Noles, with all five games being played at Carter-Finley Stadium. NC State is 9-8 on ESPN Thursday night games while FSU falls to 6-5. Florida State leads the overall series 21-10 now, but in the last 13 games FSU's edge is just 7-6.
Tale of two halves
The first half, especially the second quarter, was not pretty for NC State. The Pack trailed 21-7 at halftime after being outscored 21-0 in the second quarter. During that second session, NC State had negative six yards rushing and just 14 yards of offense total compared to 167 for Florida State. The 14 yards were the second fewest the Noles had allowed in a quarter this season.
The third quarter was a reversal. NC State had 153 yards offense, including 98 on the ground, compared to 33 yards of offense for the Noles. NC State had 14 first downs in the second half, and FSU had just six, including only one in the third quarter.
Wilson finds his legs
Redshirt junior quarterback Russell Wilson hurt Florida State as much with his legs as he did with his arm. He finished the game completing 18 of 28 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He also ran 17 times for 69 yards and a career-high three scores. The last time an NC State quarterback ran for three touchdowns in one game was Preston Poag against Western Carolina in 1988.
Wilson's four touchdowns give him 80 for his career, good enough for second all-time at NC State and tying him for fifth in the ACC record books.
Wilson is not the only one that ran well Thursday night however. Redshirt freshman Mustafa Greene ran 17 times for 76 yards. As a team, State ran 53 times for 189 yards, easily a season-high in both categories. The previous high for rushing attempts was 40 against both Central Florida and Georgia Tech. The previous high rushing total was 159 against the Yellow Jackets.
This is also only the second time this year that State ran more than they passed. State had 30 pass attempts against Central Florida. The 28 pass attempts were the fewest for a State game this season.
NC State fifth-year senior linebacker Nate Irving injured his thumb during the game and had an X-ray following the contest. Irving though returned to the field to recover the game-clinching fumble. Redshirt freshman running back Dean Haynes did not return however. Haynes ran eight times for 22 yards before sustaining a possible concussion in the second quarter. Haynes fumbled the ball on the hard hit.
Spotted at the game
Former NC State head coach and longtime Florida State assistant Chuck Amato was at the game, sporting a shirt that was half NC State and half Florida State. There was also quite a crowd in the press box that was termed by one assistant sports information director as the largest crowd ever for a State game.
The most notable recruit in attendance was quarterback Vad Lee from Hillside High in Durham, N.C. Lee is a commitment to Georgia Tech. He picked the Yellow Jackets over NC State in August.
Lee's teammates, senior defensive back Myer Krah and junior defensive end Jamal Marcus were also in attendance. The Middle Creek High junior threesome of defensive end Darius Wilkins and receivers Jon Moore and Kevin Jones were also there. Also at the game was junior athlete Josh Sessoms from Southern Nash High in Bailey, N.C.