TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — North Carolina State finally has a statement win in Dave Doeren’s fifth year as coach.
The Wolfpack broke a 10-game losing streak to ranked teams Saturday, defeating No. 12 Florida State 27-21. It is Doeren’s first victory in nine attempts since he took over in 2013.
“We beat a lot of teams that people think we should beat, and knocked on the door with a ton of teams and didn’t finish. Now we finished,” Doeren said after his team improved to 3-1 and 1-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. “If you want to be in the conversation you have to win games like today.”
The Wolfpack’s last win over a Top 25 team coincidentally was against Florida State in 2012.
N.C. State led ranked teams twice late in games last year but fell short. It had a 10-point, third quarter lead over FSU last year before the Seminoles rallied to win. The Wolfpack also took Clemson to overtime but lost.
“Just being in this situation and to finally just pull it out meant a lot. We’ve been working all year at finishing,” said defensive end Bradley Chubb, who had seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.
Ryan Finley completed 22 of 32 throws for 230 yards and two touchdowns as the Wolfpack got their first road win over a ranked team since 2008 at North Carolina. His 71-yard touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers late in the second quarter extended the lead to 17-7. Meyers had his first 100-yard receiving game with 112 yards on five receptions.
Jaylen Samuels also accounted for two touchdowns. His 2-yard run on fourth-and goal gave the Wolfpack a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter he took a shovel pass from Finley and went 17 yards to put them up 27-16.
Nyheim Hines rushed for 94 yards on 24 carries, including a 15-yard run late in the fourth quarter that allowed N.C. State to run out the clock.
The Seminoles (0-2, 0-1), who had a 21-day layoff due to Hurricane Irma, have dropped their first two games to open a season for the first time in 28 years. It also marks the first time since 2011 that FSU dropped back-to-back games.
Freshman James Blackman was 22 of 38 for 278 yards in his first start. Auden Tate had nine receptions for 138 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown early in the second quarter that drew the Seminoles within 10-7.
The Seminoles struggled to score touchdowns in the red zone, with just one in seven trips. Ricky Aguayo had four field goals, but missed a 30-yarder. Blackman also had a fumble deep in Wolfpack territory.
“They were always one play ahead and we didn’t make the plays that we needed to make,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We got to get that cleaned up to have a nice football team. It’s been done around here before with this kind of start.”
N.C. State: Samuels made his presence felt after being held in check by Florida State in three previous meetings. The senior H-back had 12 receptions for 64 yards, five carries for 11 yards and had a 25-yard completion to Dylan Parham during the first quarter.
Florida State: Blackman struggled early, completing one of his first four passes, but he started to get comfortable during the third drive and finished the first half by completing 14 of 16.
“He was really prepared for this game. … We gave him a great look in practice, the best look we could have gave him. I feel like he was making all the calls,” said safety Derwin James about Blackman. “He was loud out there. He was making the checks to receivers.”
Florida State nearly fell out of the Top 25 last year when it was 3-2. At 0-2 and with a freshman quarterback, its 89-week run in the poll, second longest in the country behind Alabama (151), could end.
N.C. State: Hosts Syracuse next Saturday. The Wolfpack have won nine of the 10 meetings, including three straight.
Florida State: Travels to Wake Forest next Saturday. The Seminoles have a five-game winning streak over the Demon Deacons.