By DAVID DROSCHAK
AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. – T.A. McLendon rushed for 114 yards and one touchdown
and North Carolina State’s defense held No. 14 Florida State to 162 total yards
for a 17-7 victory Saturday.
The Wolfpack (10-3, 5-3 ACC) became the first team in the Atlantic Coast
Conference to beat the Seminoles two years in a row, winning 34-28 last season
in Tallahassee, Fla.
N.C. State also snapped its three-game losing streak with a stunning
defensive performance to win 10 games for the first time in 111 years of
Florida State (8-4, 7-1) can do no worse than tie Maryland for the ACC
crown, but would have to finish more than five spots higher than the Terrapins
in the final BCS standings to gain the league’s major bowl bid. That’s if
Maryland wins its last two ACC games.
Florida State’s offensive output was the lowest in Bobby Bowden’s 325 games
with the Seminoles. The previous worst was 173 yards at Nebraska in 1986.
Florida State, seeking its eighth undefeated mark in ACC play in 11 years,
came into the game averaging an ACC-best 428.6 yards a game, but couldn’t move
it at all as Adrian McPherson fell to 3-1 since replacing Chris Rix at
Rix didn’t get into the game until there was 2:29 left.
McLendon had 82 yards rushing by the end of the third quarter, while the
Seminoles had just 88 total yards in the worst offensive showing in Bowden’s 27
The Wolfpack led 10-7 and drove to the Florida State 2 before failing on a
fourth-down pass from Philip Rivers to tight end Sean Berton.
But Florida State was called for a holding penalty in the end zone on its
first play for a safety.
Jerricho Cotchery’s 49-yard return of the free kick helped set up Adam
Kiker’s career-best 44-yard field goal that forced the Seminoles to score a TD
and a two-point conversion just to tie.
That was before Manny Lawson blocked a punt out of the end zone for another
safety with 5:43 left to seal it.
The Seminoles fell to 16-8 the last two seasons since going 99-11 the
previous nine seasons in the ACC.
The Florida State offense was limited when running back Nick Maddox
reinjured his right ankle on the first play of the game. Maddox, averaging an
ACC-best 6.2 yards a carry, returned later in the first quarter but was
ineffective on the sore ankle.
N.C. State dominated the first half, controlling the ball for 19 of the
opening 30 minutes while limiting the Seminoles to 64 yards of offense.
The Seminoles drove to the Wolfpack 16 on the opening possession of the
game, but after an illegal procedure penalty, McPherson was sacked twice to
take Florida State out of field goal range.
Chance Gwaltney then had his punt blocked at midfield when he dropped the
snap, leading to a 21-yard field goal by Kiker.
Florida State did little else on offense the rest of the half.
Kiker was set to try a 37-yarder midway through the second quarter that
could have given N.C. State a 6-0 lead, but Amato called for a fake. The trick
play backfired when holder Chris Young was stripped by Alonzo Jackson and
Michael Boulware returned it 84 yards to give Florida State a 7-3 lead.
Boulware, a linebacker, now has a touchdown in each of his first three
Late in the quarter, Rivers threw a key block as Josh Brown took a direct
snap and raced 60 yards to the Florida State 1. After a 5-yard penalty,
McLendon burst up the middle from 6 yards out to give the Wolfpack the lead at
Rivers threw for 95 yards in the first half to become the third ACC
quarterback to throw for at least 3,000 in two seasons. And McLendon’s 16th
rushing TD tied the league mark set in 1993 by North Carolina’s Leon Johnson.