TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — NC State never trailed and spoiled No. 12 Florida State’s hurricane-delayed home opener at Doak Campbell Stadium with a 27-21 victory on Saturday.
The Wolfpack (3-1, 1-0 in the ACC) entered as a 12-point underdog, but Ryan Finley threw two touchdown passes to help the Wolfpack snap a four-game losing streak to the Seminoles (0-2, 0-1).
The game was Florida State’s first in 21 days after Hurricane Irma washed out Weeks 2 and 3 for the Seminoles, whose loss Saturday marked the program’s first 0-2 start since 1989, when they opened the season with defeats to Southern Miss and Clemson.
Finley connected on scoring throws to receiver Jakobi Meyers and receiver/running back Jaylen Samuels. Finley finished 22 of 32 for 230 yards.
Florida State kicker Ricky Aguayo cut the lead to 27-21 with 3:01 left after linebacker Brian Burns blocked an NC State punt, but the Seminoles — who had no timeouts left — opted to kick off deep, rather than try an onside kick. NC 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 season opener against No. 1 Alabama, completed 22 of 38 passes for 278 yards.
Florida State receiver Auden Tate had nine catches for 138 yards but left the in the opening minutes of the third quarter with an apparent arm injury, suffered on a 51-yard catch. Tate’s injury was a big blow to the Seminoles, who lost a home opener for the first time in Jimbo Fisher’s eight seasons as head coach.
After the teams combined to score 27 points in the first half — with NC 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 Wolfpack lead to 20-16.
But the Wolfpack answered with 9:16 remaining, when Samuels took a shovel pass 14 yards for a touchdown to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive that put NC State ahead 27-16.
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 to cut the NC State lead to 27-18. 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 Wolfpack‘s defense was led by linebacker Jarod Fernandez with nine tackles, while edge rusher Bradley Chubb tallied seven stops and two sacks.
Florida State’s defense was paced by linebacker Ro’Derrick Hoskins with nine tackles. The Seminoles lost last year’s leading tackler, linebacker Matthew Thomas, to an injury just before halftime.
The NC State rushing attack was led by running back Nyheim Hines with 24 rushes 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’s game marked the earliest Florida State had faced an ACC opponent in the season since 2009 when they opened the year against Miami. … NC State improved to 5-15 all-time on the road against the Seminoles. … Samuels’ two touchdowns Saturday were the 37th and 38th of his career, good for fourth on the Wolfpack‘s career touchdown list. … 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.