RALEIGH, N.C. (Seminoles.com) – On a night when not much came easily, the Florida State Seminoles were quick, sharp and efficient when it mattered most.
Trailing for the majority of Saturday’s game at North Carolina State, quarterback Deondre Francois marched FSU 83 yards in just five plays, the last one a 19-yard touchdown to Travis Rudolph that gave the Seminoles their first lead of the game.
That play proved to be the game-winner, as FSU’s defense held on for the final 3:09 to emerge with a 24-20 victory over NC State at Carter-Finley Stadium.
The Seminoles improved to 6-2, making them bowl eligible for a 35th consecutive season. They return home to face Boston College on Friday.
As has often been the case this season, this one didn’t go final without some drama in the late moments.
Aided by a targeting penalty to FSU’s Brian Burns, NC State drove to the Seminoles’ 24-yard line with a little more than a minute to play.
But after a loss of two and two straight incompletions, Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley overthrew Nyheim Hines on fourth and 12 and the Seminoles took over on downs.
Two kneel-downs later, they could exhale with their victory – and FSU’s first two-game winning streak in Raleigh since 1994-96 – in hand.
The victory came after Florida State fell behind 10-3 and allowed the Wolfpack to post 285 yards of offense by halftime.
But the Seminoles’ defense tightened up after the break and their offense scored touchdowns on two of their final three drives to complete the comeback.
Francois threw for 330 yards – 228 in the second half – and a touchdown to top the 300-yard mark fourth time this season.
And, for the second straight week, sophomore Nyqwan Murray was Francois’ favorite target. Seven days removed from a breakout performance against Clemson, Murray took another big step forward with 153 yards on nine catches.