Shorthanded and overwhelmed from the start. And at the hands of a former Florida State quarterback.
Bailey Hockman had three touchdown passes and added a rushing TD as North Carolina State defeated the Seminoles 38-22 on Saturday.
The Seminoles played without quarterback Jordan Travis, defensive tackle Cory Durden and a handful of receivers. Hamsah Nasirildeen started in his return to the field.
FSU trailed 21-3 at the half and couldn’t recover despite players clearly fighting to put together drives in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got to be more consistent and just in all aspects got to do a better job,” Norvell said. “But we’re going to continue to work, continue to get better. I believe in these guys. I see some guys that are growing up. I see some leadership emerging within our team.”
But Hockman guided an efficient passing game — he was 17 of 21 in the first half — and the quarterback who left FSU in Aug. 2018 led the Wolfpack (5-3, 5-3 ACC) to a lopsided win over the Seminoles.
FSU drops to 2-6, 1-6 ACC. The Seminoles ensured they will finish with a losing season for a third straight year unless they win their final three games and a bowl game.
Next up for FSU is a home game with Clemson on Saturday at noon (ABC).
The Seminoles started four true freshmen on offense: Chubba Purdy, Robert Scott, Thomas Shrader and Ja’Khi Douglas.
FSU has started four quarterbacks in eight games. It’s the first time FSU has started four quarterbacks in a season since 1985, when the Seminoles used Danny McManus, Eric Thomas, Kirk Coker and Chip Ferguson. As ESPN pointed out, FSU only used four quarterbacks from 2008-13 (Christian Ponder, EJ Manuel, Clint Trickett and Jameis Winston).
Purdy wasn’t able to get much of an offense going until the fourth quarter. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
Tate Rodemaker also was 3 of 5 for 19 yards. Norvell said the coaches played Rodemaker by design on the fourth drive of the game, and Rodemaker also got a drive just before halftime.
Purdy connected with Ontaria Wilson for a 69-yard touchdown reception with 9:54 left in the fourth quarter. He later underthrew Warren Thompson, but the receiver came back to go up and grab a pass over the defensive back on FSU’s final touchdown.
“I thought Chubba competed extremely hard,” Norvell said. “Was able to make plays not only with his arm but with his legs. You see him really starting to grow up.”
Early in the game, Mike Norvell rolled the dice, going for it on fourth-and-1 from the FSU 31. Jashaun Corbin was stopped short and NC State capitalized on the short field a few minutes later with a touchdown to go ahead 14-0.
The Seminoles were 5 of 7 on fourth-down opportunities in the game.
FSU put together a 12-play, 68-yard drive in the third quarter that resulted in Corbin’s 28-yard TD run. Corbin took the handoff on fourt-and-1 and fought through the middle of the defense for the score. It was the Seminoles’ first offensive points in the second half since the Notre Dame game after FSU was held scoreless against UNC and Pitt while recording a safety against Louisville.
Wilson caught seven passes for 117 yards.
Corbin ran 14 times for 77 yards. FSU had 34 carries for 147 yards.
FSU has allowed 30 or more points in five of seven FBS games this season: Miami, Notre Dame, Louisville, Pittsburgh and NC State.
Hockman completed 24 of 34 passes for 265 rushing yards.
NC State picked apart FSU on third down, converting on 10 of 15 opportunities.
Nasirildeen got the start in his return to the field and had a tackle for loss on the first play. He had four tackles.
“It was great to see Hamsah out there tonight,” Norvell said. “We had him on a limited play count but he was able to start the game. There’s still some things with him as he’s coming along. … Knowing the work he’s put in to get back to this moment and opportunity, the investment that he has in this team and program. “
Durden did not make the trip. He posted on Twitter during the game that he was in quarantine.
Amari Gainer had 12 tackles and Emmett Rice had 11 tackles to lead FSU’s defense.
Janarius Robinson had a sack.
Travis Jay’s fumbled punt return near midfield stalled any momentum. FSU was trailing 28-9 but had forced a punt. Hockman connected with Thayer Thomas a few plays later for the 24-yard touchdown and NC State went ahead 35-9.
“The turnover in our punt return game with the muffed punt, I thought that was one of the almost turning points in a sense of where we were starting to regain some momentum,” Norvell said.
Parker Grothaus connected on a 48-yard field-goal attempt in the first half. He previously made a 53-yarder vs. Georgia Tech.
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