Raleigh, N.C. 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 and beat 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, N.C. 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 one-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 N.C. State four 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.
N.C. State linebacker Nate Irving pounced on the loose ball at the nine 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.