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Close calls and crushed souls, NC State’s recent run against top 25 teams is not for the faint of heart

Close calls and crushed souls: NC State versus top 25 teams

A trip to Florida State gives the NC State Wolfpack a chance to end a losing streak to top 25 teams and push some painful memories aside says the News and Observer's Joe Giglio.
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A trip to Florida State gives the NC State Wolfpack a chance to end a losing streak to top 25 teams and push some painful memories aside says the News and Observer's Joe Giglio.

This is not a list you want to read if you’re an N.C. State fan.

There are no pleasant memories here and there’s a good chance you’ll be angry after reading it, but it is what it is.

Saturday’s trip to No. 12 Florida State gives N.C. State a chance to end a 10-game losing streak to top 25 opponents.

N.C. State’s last win over a top 25 team was actually against Florida State in 2012. Mike Glennon led the Wolfpack to a 17-16 comeback win over the third-ranked Seminoles at Carter-Finley Stadium on Oct. 6, 2012.

Six weeks later, N.C. State lost 62-48 at No. 11 Clemson to start the losing streak. N.C. State is 0-9 vs. top 25 teams under coach Dave Doeren, who was hired before the 2013 season.

How those nine games played out:

No. 19 Florida State 24, N.C. State 20

Date: Nov. 5, 2016. Site: Raleigh.

N.C. State did everything but win the game. The Wolfpack had more yards (469 to 393) and more first downs (31 to 20) than the Seminoles and held FSU – with a healthy Dalvin Cook, the All-ACC running back and the school’s career leading rusher – to 63 rushing yards.

But quarterback Deondre Francois made the most of a second chance with FSU trailing 20-17 in the final minutes. Francois threw an errant pass into double coverage in the end zone with 3:16 left in the game but N.C. State safety Shawn Boone couldn’t come down with the interception.

On the next play, Travis Rudolph got behind Boone for a 19-yard touchdown for the winning margin.

No. 7 Louisville 54, N.C. State 13

Date: Oct. 22, 2016. Site: Louisville, Ky.

The classic example of letting one loss turn into two. Emotionally devastated after the 24-17 overtime loss at Clemson the previous week, N.C. State sleep-walked through the first half while Lamar Jackson led the Cardinals to 44 first-half points.

No. 3 Clemson 24, N.C. State 17 (OT)

Date: Oct. 15, 2016. Site: Clemson, S.C.

So many things happened in this game but it’s only remembered for one play.

With the score tied at 17, Kyle Bambard missed a 33-yard field goal on the last play of regulation that would have given the Wolfpack the win.

There was a lot more to this game. N.C. State’s defense produced four turnovers, including the only “pick six” of Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson’s career. Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins blocked a field goal and converted a fake punt.

Matt Dayes ran for 106 yards, and Jaylen Samuels had the first 100-yard receiving game of his career for the Wolfpack, but it was all overshadowed by Bambard’s miss.

No. 11 UNC 45, N.C. State 34

Date: Nov. 28, 2015. Site: Raleigh

A year after losing 35-7 at home to N.C. State, the Tar Heels jump out to a 35-7 lead … in the first quarter. UNC ran for 374 yards, including 220 by Elijah Hood, to cap off an 8-0 ACC season.

No. 19 Florida State 34, N.C. State 17

Date: Nov. 14, 2015. Site: Tallahassee, Fla.

N.C. State intercepted FSU quarterback Everett Golson twice to build a 17-7 first-quarter lead. Then FSU coach Jimbo Fisher benched Golson for backup Sean Maguire, who proceeded to throw for a pair of touchdowns and lead four straight scoring drives.

The Noles tied the score by the half and scored the only points of the second half. Cook ran for 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

No. 3 Clemson 56, N.C. State 41

Date: Oct. 31, 2015. Site: Raleigh.

Nearly an identical game to the Florida State visit from 2014. N.C. State came out hot and led early but the Tigers pulled away in the second half.

A foot injury to Dayes at the end of the first half altered this game and the rest of the season for the Wolfpack.

No. 1 Florida State 56, N.C. State 41

Date: Sept. 27, 2014. Site: Raleigh.

The Wolfpack led 24-7 at one point, with Jacoby Brissett producing the highlight of the ACC season on this 8-yard touchdown pass to Johnathan Alston, but the top-ranked Seminoles had too much talent.

Jameis Winston (365 yards, four TDs) out-dueled Brissett (359 yards, three TDs) in an entertaining matchup of future NFL quarterbacks.

No. 2 Florida State 49, N.C. State 17

Date: Oct. 26, 2013. Site: Tallahassee, Fla.

Florida State dominated ACC teams en route to the national title this season, N.C. State was no exception.

The Noles scored on their first five possessions and led 35-0 after the first quarter. Their starters barely played in the second half.

No. 3 Clemson 26, N.C. State 14

Date: Sept. 19, 2013. Site: Raleigh.

Simply known to N.C. State fans as “The Bryan Underwood Game.”

Underwood’s 83-yard touchdown run would have given N.C. State a 14-13 lead midway through the third quarter, but line judge Richard Misner ruled Underwood had stepped out of bounds after a 36-yard gain. Misner blew the play dead so it was not reviewable.

Three plays later, N.C. State quarterback Pete Thomas fumbled, and Clemson answered with a 30-yard touchdown catch by receiver Martavis Bryant to take a 20-7 lead and effectively put the game away.

Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

NC State at Florida State

When: Noon

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.

TV: ABC

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