James Blackman knew his work would be cut out for him. When Seminoles starting quarterback Deondre Francois was lost for the season, Blackman knew the challenge of stepping into the starting quarterback job as a true freshman. He did everything he could for the Seminoles, but the Noles fell short in their home opener, falling to NC State 27-21 on Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee. It was the first home opening loss in Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher's career.
Playing for the first time in three weeks after having two games cancelled or postponed because of Hurricane Irma's impact on Florida, the Seminoles fell behind early in this one. After an opening drive three and out, North Carolina State marched down the field on a 12-play, 58 yard drive that ended in a 24-yard Carson Wise field goal. Another three-and-out for the Seminoles offense was answered by a 10-play, 76 yard touchdown drive for North Carolina State and the Seminoles found themselves trailing NC State 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Florida State answered with a long touchdown drive of their own tos tart the second quarter as Blackman hit Auden Tate for his first career passing touchdown to pull within 10-7. After fumbling away another opportunity in the second, Florida State found themselves with a chance to tie the game with 3:07 remaining. However, Ricky Aguayo missed a 30-yard field goal, and the Wolfpack scored a touchdown four plays later, so instead of being tied at 10, the Seminoles found themselves trailing 17-7. Ricky Aguayo did nail a 37-yard attempt with just five seconds remaining in the half and they went to halftime trailing 17-10.
After both teams traded field goals in the third quarter, this game moved to the fourth with the Seminoles trailing NC State 27-21. Aguayo nailed a 36-yard field goal early in the quarter to pull within 4 at 20-16, but once again the Wolfpack had an answer. This time a 10-play, 75 yard drive ended when Ryan Finley hit Jaylen Smith to make it 27-16 with 9:16 to go and that would put this game out of reach for the Seminoles. Florida State did get two points on a safety, and Ricky Aguayo hit a 34-yard field goal with 3:01 to go to pull within 27-21, but North Carolina State had little trouble keeping this game out of reach and holding on for their first win over Florida State in five years.
James Blackman finished the game 22-38 with 278 yard and one passing touchdown in his debut as the Seminoles starting quarterback, while his counterpart Ryan Finley went 22-32 with 230 yards and 2 passing touchdowns. Auden Tate led all receivers with 138 yards and a touchdown through the air, while George Campbell added 85 yards receiving for the Seminoles. Cam Akers also contributed 56 yards to lead Florida State rushing. For North Carolina State, Jakobi Meyers had 112 yards receiving and a touchdown, while Nyheim Hines had 94 yards on the ground to lead all rushers.
The Seminoles now go on the road when they head to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to battle the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday September 30th. Kickoff in the game is set for 3:30 PM.