Saturday, October 6, 2012
Instant Analysis: NC State 17, FSU 16
By David M. Hale
RALEIGH, N.C. -- After last Saturday's games, Mike Glennon sent a text message to his good friend EJ Manuel, predicting an upset.
It was a boastful claim considering NC State had just looked awful in a loss to Miami (Fla), and Florida State was flying high and ranked third in the nation. Manuel was so amused, he shared the message with his defense as a bit of bulletin-board material.
Turns out, Glennon was right.
NC State's senior quarterback led a furious assault on the vaunted Seminoles defense in the second half, rallying the Wolfpack from a 16-point deficit for a 17-16 win.
It was over when: Glennon hit Bryan Underwood for a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal with 16 seconds remaining in the game. It was the third time NC State was faced with a fourth down on the drive, which began after the Wolfpack blocked a late FSU punt. The touchdown tied the game, and the ensuing extra point gave them the lead as NC State knocked off a top-five opponent at home for the first time since 1998, when NC State dumped No. 2-ranked FSU.
Game ball goes to: Glennon. After being demolished in the first half, completing just 6 of 13 passes for 41 yards with an interception, the senior quarterback was a calm, cool and collected in the second half, delivering one big throw after another. Glennon finished the game 30-of-55 passing for 259 yards and two second-half touchdowns, including the game winner on fourth down with 16 seconds left.
Turning point: Halftime. The first half was all Florida State, as the Seminoles dominated the line of scrimmage, Chris Thompson burned the NC State defense on the ground, and FSU went into the locker room leading 16-0. When the two teams emerged for the second half, it was a brand new ballgame. The NC State defense tormented Manuel, with FSU mustering just five first downs and 101 yards. NC State, meanwhile, sprung to life, quadrupling its first-half output with 257 yards of offense, most of it coming on short passes over the middle that FSU's linebacking corps had no answer for.
Stat of the game: Four. That's the number of times FSU has started a season 5-0 since its 1999 national championship season, and on all four occasions it lost its next game. The questions will be awfully tough for Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles to answer after this -- a game it dominated early. A week earlier, NC State allowed an ACC-record 566 yards passing, but Manuel couldn't solve the Wolfpack defense and another season of immense expectations fizzled with an unlikely loss.
Unsung hero: The NC State offensive line. Missing three starters, the Wolfpack's offensive line stepped up and shut down a rather passive Florida State pass rush. The Seminoles had just one sack, which came early and from a defensive tackle. Fill-in offensive tackles R.J. Mattes and Tyson Chandler managed to keep Cornellius Carradine and Bjoern Werner off of Glennon long enough for the Wolfpack quarterback to engineer one strong drive after another in the second half, including three huge fourth-down conversions late.