The defending national champions remain unbeaten. Just barely.
No. 1 Florida State traveled to Raleigh and managed to come away with the victory, handing NC State their first loss of the season in a 56-41 comeback win for the Seminoles.
The Wolfpack got off to a torrid start, scoring three touchdowns and a field goal in the first quarter to take a 24-7 lead. Two were Jacoby Brissett touchdown passes (54 and eight yards, respectively) and it was the shorter one that was more impressive. Behold, the best sack evasion you'll see this year:
Florida State brought it back with two unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter, and Dalvin Cook's 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter made it 31-28 Wolfpack. NC State was forced to punt on their next drive, but the Seminoles muffed the return, giving Brissett the ball back and allowing Shadrach Thornton to score.
Our sites on these teams
Our sites on these teams
Jameis Winston responded with his third touchdown throw of the day, and Brissett's eagerness to make big plays ended up biting the Wolfpack. The quarterback scrambled backwards out of the pocket to avoid a pass rush, attempting to make a pass while getting hit. The ball was fumbled, giving Florida State the ball near the Wolfpack's end zone. Winston found Rashad Greene in the end zone, giving the Seminoles their first lead of the game with 3:24 to go in the third.
The Seminoles would score three more touchdowns before the game was out, with Winston finishing 26/38 for 365 yards and four touchdowns.
Three things we learned
1. Florida State has one major weakness. Florida State's ability to stuff the run up the middle was already in question after Timmy Jernigan's departure to the NFL, but without Nile Lawrence-Stample? The Seminoles struggled to contain the Wolfpack's running game up the middle, with big plays and consistent gains coming from Brissett and Thornton. North Carolina State ended the game with 161 rushing yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
2. The 'Noles are very good, but they're not the best team in the country right now. Struggles in the opening week against Oklahoma State? Sure. An overtime victory against Clemson without Winston? Okay. But nearly losing to NC State is a different story, and Florida State has now had close calls in all three of their games against FBS opponents. Last year's success only goes so far for the Seminoles, and they'll need to start showing it this year soon if they want to stay on top of the polls.
3. Jacoby Brissett could win games on his own in the ACC. Florida State has one of the most athletic defenses in the nation, and were at times completely unable to deal with the Florida transfer's ability to make plays.
TD N.C. State. Can't win. When you go after the kid, he escaped and breaks your tackle. When you controlled rush, he dices you up. On fire.— TomahawkNation.com (@TomahawkNation) September 27, 2014
Brissett's final line was less than excellent after Florida State's defense effectively shut him down in the second half, but the quarterback still threw for 349 yards and three touchdowns.