Scores

Final

(16) Florida State 24

(6-2, 4-1 ACC)

NC State 28

(6-2, 3-1 ACC)

Coverage: ESPN

7:30 PM ET, October 28, 2010

Carter-Finley Stadium, RALEIGH, NC

1 2 3 4 T
#16FSU 0 21 0 324
NCST 7 0 14 728

Top Performers

Passing: C. Ponder (FSU) - 196 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: R. Wilson (WIS) - 17 CAR, 69 YDS, 3 TD

Receiving: B. Reed (FSU) - 6 REC, 87 YDS

Fourth-quarter rally, fumble recovery help NC State upset Florida State

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Russell Wilson made seemingly every big play to help North Carolina State rally from a big halftime deficit against No. 16 Florida State.

Then Nate Irving came up with the one the defense desperately needed Thursday night.

Wilson threw a fourth-down touchdown pass to George Bryan with 2:40 left, then Irving recovered a fumble in the final minute on the Seminoles' final drive to give NC State a 28-24 win in a matchup of Atlantic Coast Conference division contenders.

Wilson ran for three scores for the Wolfpack (6-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who trailed 21-7 at the break before ending a three-game losing streak to the Seminoles (6-2, 4-1). With the win, NC State surpassed its victory total for last season and matched its best year under fourth-year coach Tom O'Brien.

Now NC State enters November with a shot to win the league's Atlantic Division and a spot in the league championship game in Charlotte.

"We've got to go through it again," O'Brien said. "We're in a must-win mode each and every week, if we want to go to Charlotte."

In a game that was statistically even much of the night, NC State and Florida State found themselves in eerily similar positions. Both had the ball inside the 5-yard line in the final minutes, trailing and with a chance to score a go-ahead touchdown.

Both opted for play-action passes. The Wolfpack executed. The Seminoles bumbled.

Trailing 24-21, the Wolfpack drove to the FSU 1-yard line only to have the Seminoles stop Wilson on a pair of sneaks and stuff James Washington's leap over the line on third down. The Wolfpack appeared ready to kick a field goal but called timeout and sent the offense back out on the field.

This time, Wilson rolled to his right on a play-action fake, then found Bryan alone near the back of the end zone for the 28-24 lead.

"I think [the coaches] had a second to think about it and it was a good decision," Wilson said. "We were at home, on the 1-inch yard line. We had to get in."

Still, Christian Ponder -- who ran for a pair of scores and threw for one -- nearly rallied the Seminoles, driving Florida State all the way to the NC State 4 in the final minute. But on the fake, Ponder extended the ball too far as tailback Ty Jones ran by. Jones bumped the ball with his hip, knocking it free and to the turf.

Irving -- playing through the pain of a thumb injury suffered earlier in the quarter -- pounced on the loose ball at the 9 with 48 seconds left.

"I can't even describe it," Irving said of the pain in his right thumb, "but being a captain of the team, I couldn't let my teammates down. So I had to suck it up and show them that I was willing to go out and fight for them."

Wilson came in leading the league at 303 yards per game, but finished with 178 yards on 18-for-28 passing against the league's top scoring defense. Still, he capped the Wolfpack's first drive with a 1-yard keeper for a score, then followed with a 10-yard scoring run early in the third and a 20-yard sprint up the middle midway through the period that erased the 21-7 halftime deficit and tied the game.

Wilson's winning TD toss allowed him to bounce back from an interception on a badly thrown ball around the FSU 10 early in the fourth. The Seminoles converted that turnover into a field goal for a 24-21 lead with 9:07 left.

"His legs won the game," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "It was two quarterbacks making plays, and they made one more than we did at the end."

Ponder threw for 196 yards and an 11-yard touchdown to Willie Haulstead to go with a pair of rushing scores -- all in the second quarter. He also had his own critical miscue, fumbling in a collapsing pocket deep in his own end of the field to set up Wilson's 20-yard score that tied the game in the third.

"We had it in hand," Ponder said. "We had been rolling and playing really well, and it was the first time in a while that we had control of our own destiny in the ACC."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
FSU
NCST
1st Downs1523
Total Yards373367
Passing196178
Rushing177189
Penalties10-819-60
3rd Down Conversions8-1412-18
4th Down Conversions0-02-2
Turnovers22
Possession27:0232:58

Passing Leaders

Florida StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Ponder17/281967.010
North Carolina StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Wilson18/281786.411

Rushing Leaders

Florida StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jones1010810.8034
Thompson6396.5026
North Carolina StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Greene17764.5012
Wilson17694.1330

Receiving Leaders

Florida StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Reed68714.5030
Haulstead44310.8118
North Carolina StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Williams34414.7029
Davis24422.0035

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERFSUNCST
TD07:55Russell Wilson 1 Yd Run (Josh Czajkowski Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERFSUNCST
TD07:12Christian Ponder 3 Yd Run (Dustin Hopkins Kick) 77
TD04:54Christian Ponder 2 Yd Run (Dustin Hopkins Kick) 147
TD00:47Willie Haulstead 11 Yd Pass From Christian Ponder (Dustin Hopkins Kick) 217
THIRD QUARTERFSUNCST
TD10:00Russell Wilson 10 Yd Run (Josh Czajkowski Kick) 2114
TD07:36Russell Wilson 20 Yd Run (Josh Czajkowski Kick) 2121
FOURTH QUARTERFSUNCST
FG09:07Dustin Hopkins 31 Yd 2421
TD02:40George Bryan 1 Yd Pass From Russell Wilson (Josh Czajkowski Kick) 2428

Research Notes

Florida State was down by four late in the fourth quarter, driving the ball for the go-ahead score. It was almost a near-exact repeat of last year's game...until the fumble.
  [+]
How surprising was that red zone TD by the Wolfpack? Entering the game, NC State scored just 19 TD on its 38 red zone trips - a 50.0 percent TD rate. That TD rate ranks 90th in FBS and among ACC teams, only Boston College is worse.

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