An ugly first half of offensive football put the Seminoles in a big early deficit. Despite an impressive third quarter, sparked in part by an onside kick to open the second half, Florida State again fell short.
Devin Leary threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns as North Carolina State jumped ahead of Florida State early and held off the Seminoles for a 28-14 win on Saturday.
Leary connected with Trent Pennix, C.J. Riley, Christopher Toudle and Ricky Person on touchdowns — one in each quarter — for the Wolfpack (7-2, 4-1 ACC). Three of the touchdowns were big plays, with connections of 62 yards to Riley, 45 yards to Pennix and 43 yards to Person.
McKenzie Milton filled in as Florida State’s starting quarterback with Jordan Travis out. Travis did not practice in the open media portions on Tuesday and Wednesday.
FSU coach Mike Norvell said after the game he was “hopeful we can get him back soon” but did not specify if Travis had the flu or if it was an injury.
“It was a challenging week for everybody,” Norvell said. “Within the community there was some sickness that spread. Really made it challenging. Probably over 25 guys that missed at least one of the practices. We struggled, you could see a little bit of that that showed up just in continuity of execution that showed up early. But that’s part of football.”
Milton completed 22 of 44 passes for 233 yards and scrambled to complete an 8-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Helton, but the Seminoles (3-6, 2-4) were also plagued by drops from the start.
Leary connected with Riley and Toudle to give the Wolfpack a 14-0 lead at the half. Florida State’s offense was stuck in neutral, accumulating just 78 offensive yards and three first downs in the first 30 minutes.
Florida State was shut out in a half for the first time since the second half of a week 3 loss at Wake Forest.
Jashaun Corbin also had a 3-yard touchdown run out of the wildcat to cap a 75-yard drive in the third quarter.
FSU managed just 78 yards in the first half on 28 plays. On 13 carries, FSU had -1 yards in the first 30 minutes. It obviously got much better in the third quarter but the Seminoles dug themselves quite a deficit.
One day-long issue was drops, where the Seminoles had at least seven on the day. But the run offense also was hurt by not having Travis’ mobility.
FSU had 271 offensive yards, with 233 through the air. The Seminoles managed just 38 yards on 27 carries, with Corbin accumulating 33 yards on 14 carries.
Jordan Wilson had a 35-yard reception in the second quarter. Wilson had 62 receiving yards on seven catches this season.
The Seminoles were 2 for 16 on third-down chances. Norvell opted to go for it on fourth down often and FSU converted on just 2 of 4 chances. One was costly late in the game, giving NC State a short field.
Jammie Robinson had 10 tackles and an interception on a Hail Mary to end the first half. He returned it 47 yards, near midfield but was brought down.
Amari Gainer had seven tackles. D.J. Lundy had seven tackles.
Keir Thomas had two sacks. Malcolm Ray added a sack.
Jarrian Jones was the victim on two touchdown passes. Akeem Dent also struggled to make tackles in the open field.
FSU shut down NC State’s ground attack in the first half. The Wolfpack were held to 45 yards on 16 carries.
NC State converted on 8 of 18 third-down opportunities.
Alex Mastromanno punted nine times for a 44.9-yard average, including a 58-yarder. His punts helped to pin NC State deep in its own end a few times.
Parker Grothaus executed a successful onside kick to open the second half. Grothaus’ recovery was the first onside kick recovery by the Seminoles since 2009.
Lawrance Toafili, Travis Jay, Baveon Johnson, Brendan Gant and Sidney Williams were among those who did not play, due to flu or injury.
It’s the first time since 2002 that NC State has beaten Florida State and Clemson in the same year.
FSU honored the military prior to and throughout the first half of Saturday’s game.
Saturday’s attendance was a season-low 50,835.