by Mike Potter
CARTER-FINLEY STADIUM/RALEIGH N.C. State gets the biggest challenge of all on a huge day for college football in the Triangle.
The Wolfpack (3-2, 0-1) is trying to lick some wounds after a heartbreaking 44-37 loss last week at Miami. It has been an upset every time as the Pack has beaten the Seminoles once in every two trips to Raleigh since 1998. But since
Tom O’Brien’s team won 28-24 here two years ago it’s supposed to be the Seminoles’ turn. FSU won 34-0 in Tallahassee last year.
It turns out to be not the Seminoles’ turn this time, as the Wolfpack scores all its points after halftime to win a 17-16 shocker.
The Seminoles get on the board first at 6:34 of the first, as Dustin Hopkins kicks a 49-yard field goal to complete a five-play, 22-yard drive.
FSU stretches the lead to 10-0 with 13:53 left in the half, as E.J. Manuel finds Nick O’Leary from four yards out to complete an 11-play, 80-yard journey with Hopkins converting.
It goes to 13-0 with 4:07 left in the half as Hopkins’ 20-yard field goal finishes a six-play, 45-yard march.
And it goes to 16-0 with 28 seconds left when Hopkins connects from 36 yards out.
Niklas Sade finally gets the Wolfpack on the board with 6:50 left in the third, connecting on a 27-yard field goal to complete a 15-play, 78-yard march.
The hosts tighten it up further with 13:47 left, as Shadrach Thornton takes a short Mike Glennon pass over the middle and sprints to a 24-yard score to finish a seven-play, 59-yard drive. Sade’s boot makes it 16-10.
The Wolfpack’s solid second half defense gets the team a final opportunity to win. Following a blocked punt by Mike Rose the Pack goes 43 yards in 12 plays to set up Glennon’s two-yard scoring pass to a wide-open Bryan Underwood on fourth down with 16 seconds left. Sade then adds the winning point.
FSU runs four plays, getting to its own 46, before the wild rumpus begins.
Glennon completes 30 of 55 passes for 259 yards and the two scores with one interception. Thornton catches four passes for 48 yards and the TD and picks up 29 yards on 11 carries.
Manuel completes 17 of 29 for 218 yards with one interception. Chris Thompson leads FSU with 141 yards on 25 carries.
They said it …
O’Brien: “It was a great effort by our defense to shut out a team like Florida State in the second half like we did. (And) coming back against that defense was huge. (Glennon) played very well in the second half. I’m ecstatic for him. Our goal is to always win the third quarter, and we did.”
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher: “(NCSU) controlled the line of scrimmage on three fourth-down plays. They did a very nice job. We’ve got to coach a little better. We’ve got to be able to put our face in there and make a play. (Glennon) stood in there and made some really good plays. Hats off to him. He played a great game.”
Glennon: “Bouncing back after a tough loss last week was great! We felt like we needed to throw the ball a little more in the second half to get a rhythm going. It didn’t feel like we were on the field much in the first half. Our offensive line did a great job — three starters down and only giving up one sack to that defense? That’s unheard of.”
Underwood: “It was really just a zone read. I read their defense, went into the end zone, Mike threw it and I caught it. I didn’t even see the guy that hit me. It was do-or-die. It was a dream come true, to be honest.”
What does it all mean?
That the Wolfpack might be capable of beating anyone in the country at home. And that Florida State is not going to win the national championship.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Glennon’s TD pass to Underwood to set up the winning conversion kick.
NCSU: Won 1.
FSU: Lost 1.
FSU leads 22-11.
FSU vs. Boston College, Oct. 13, 5:30 p.m.
NCSU at Maryland, Oct. 20, TBA