NC State looks to continue pushing for a division title in the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday when it visits the Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee.
The Wolfpack (6-2, 3-1 ACC) are in second place in the Atlantic Division behind undefeated No. 10 Wake Forest (8-0, 5-0).
“November is an important month. It’s the first time in my time in the league that it’s been wide open for who is going to represent each side of the division,” NC State coach Dave Doeren, who is in his ninth season, told reporters. “It’s exciting right now in our conference.”
Florida State (3-5, 2-3) is coming off a 30-20 loss to visiting Clemson (5-3, 4-2) that ended the Seminoles’ three-game winning streak.
NC State won for the fifth time in its past six games after rallying for a 28-13 win over visiting Louisville (4-4, 2-3 ACC) last week. The Wolfpack trailed 10-7 entering the final quarter before quarterback Devin Leary tossed three touchdowns in the period to finish 25-for-36 for 317 yards and four scores.
On a night when the Wolfpack struggled to run the ball with Zonovan Knight being held to 23 yards on 11 carries, 11 receivers caught passes, led by Emeka Emezie’s five receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown. Trent Pennix added three catches for 55 yards and a score.
Leary has thrown for 2,161 yards with 21 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season for the Wolfpack, who have gone four straight games without a turnover.
Linebacker Drake Thomas and safety Tanner Ingle came up big against Louisville for the Wolfpack. Thomas had 15 tackles, including 2.5 behind the line of scrimmage, and two sacks and broke up a pass, while Ingle recorded 10 tackles, including one for a loss, to go along with a pass breakup.
The Wolfpack were playing their first full game without linebacker Isaiah Moore, who suffered a season-ending knee injury a week earlier during a loss against Miami. Moore led the team with five tackles for loss and was second on the team with 43 tackles.
Florida State’s push to be bowl eligible, after opening the season 0-4, took a major hit against Clemson.
After taking a 20-17 lead when defensive end Jermaine Johnson returned a fumble six yards for a touchdown with 7:39 remaining, the Tigers scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes to pull out the win. Will Shipley’s 21-yard run with 2:53 left gave Clemson a 24-20 lead before Barrett Carter scooped up a fumble on the final play and returned it three yards for the touchdown that provided the final margin.
The Seminoles will look to Jordan Travis (812 yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs) to jumpstart an offense that was held to just 241 yards against the Tigers. Jashaun Corbin has rushed for a team-high 714 yards and five touchdowns this season, but no receiver has more than 220 receiving yards for the Seminoles this season.
“It was a challenging first month but we got up, we responded and we pushed forward,” FSU coach Mike Norvell told reporters. “We had about four weeks where there was some positive momentum, a lot of things we’re growing and building upon. Saturday, we got knocked down again and the only sin is if you stay down on that ground. But we’re going to jump up, we’re going to move forward and we’re going to attack every day with all we can to improve, to get better and to be the team we’re capable of being.”
–Field Level Media