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Oct. 28, 2010
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Russell Wilson threw a fourth-down touchdown pass to George Bryan with 2:40 left to help North Carolina State rally from a big halftime deficit to down No. 16 Florida State 28-24 on Thursday night.
Wilson also ran for three scores for the Wolfpack (6-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who trailed 21-7 at the break before ending a three-game losing streak to the Seminoles (6-2, 4-1). With the win, NC State surpassed its victory total for last season while earning a key victory in a matchup of Atlantic Division contenders.
Trailing 24-21, the Wolfpack drove to the FSU 1-yard line and appeared to have a winning score within easy reach. But the Seminoles stopped Wilson on a pair of sneaks, then stuffed James Washington's leap over the line on third down. The Wolfpack appeared ready to kick a field goal, but called timeout and sent the offense back out on the field.
This time, Wilson rolled to his right on a play-action fake, then found Bryan alone near the back of the end zone for the 28-24 lead.
Still, Christian Ponder - who ran for a pair of scores and threw for one - nearly rallied the Seminoles, driving Florida State all the way to the NC State 4 in the final minute. But on what looked like a play-action fake, Ponder fumbled when tailback Ty Jones appeared to bump him as he ran by.
NC State linebacker Nate Irving pounced on the loose ball at the 9 with 48 seconds left, sealing a dramatic victory in a game that was statistically even much of the night.
It was a matchup of two of the league's top quarterbacks in Wilson and Ponder, but neither managed to get into rhythm throwing the ball. Instead, both made their biggest plays with their feet to keep their offenses moving forward.
Wilson came in leading the league at 303 yards per game, but finished with 178 yards on 18 for 28 passing against the league's top scoring defense. Still, he capped the Wolfpack's first drive with a 1-yard keeper for a score, then followed with a 10-yard scoring run early in the third and a 20-yard sprint up the middle midway through the period that erased the 21-7 halftime deficit and tied the game.
Wilson's winning TD toss allowed him to bounce back from an interception on a badly thrown ball around the FSU 10 early in the fourth. The Seminoles converted that turnover into a field goal from Dustin Hopkins for a 24-21 lead with 9:07 left.
Ponder had a similar night, throwing for 196 yards and an 11-yard touchdown to Willie Haulstead to go with a pair of rushing scores - all in the second quarter. He also had his own critical miscue, fumbling in a collapsing pocket deep in his own end of the field to set up Wilson's 20-yard score that tied the game in the third.