Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Russell Wilson's touchdown pass to George Bryan with 2:40 left put North Carolina State in front, and the Wolfpack recovered a Christian Ponder fumble inside the final minute to secure a 28-24 victory over 16th-ranked Florida State.
The Seminoles drove down the field following Bryan's catch and got into scoring position, as Ponder's eight-yard rush set up a 1st-and-goal. But on second down, Ponder brushed his running back's side as he dropped back on a play-fake and lost control of the ball. Linebacker Nate Irving recovered with 49 seconds left, and NC State ran out the clock from there.
"It was a man-to-man play where we had a blitz on one side and coverage in the back," Irving said. "They came out in a formation. I saw the quarterback play- action fake, so I stepped up and I saw he had a loose grip on the ball. So I just kept going and it popped out."
Wilson completed 18-of-28 passes for 178 yards, with one interception. He also ran for 69 yards and three touchdowns for the Wolfpack (6-2, 3-1 ACC), who rebounded from an overtime loss at East Carolina two Saturdays ago.
Ponder threw for 196 yards and a score, while running for two more touchdowns for the Seminoles (6-2, 4-1), who had won their last five.
"We came out sloppy in the first quarter and had too many penalties and a lack of execution," said Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. "It was a hard- fought game and they made the last play."
Florida State used a big second quarter to take a 21-7 halftime lead, but NC State began its comeback shortly into the third. The Wolfpack began the quarter with the ball and went on a 13-play, 68-yard drive that lasted nearly five minutes, and which Wilson ended with a 10-yard run across the goal line.
Ponder fumbled two plays into the Seminoles' ensuing drive, allowing NC State to take over at the FSU 22. On third down, Wilson ran it in from the 20 to suddenly create a 21-21 tie.
The Wolfpack threatened again on a drive that spanned into the fourth quarter, but on 2nd-and-10 from the FSU 11, Wilson was picked off by Xavier Rhodes. The Seminoles drove 59 yards the other way, reaching the NC State 13 for a 4th- and-1. They elected to attempt a 31-yard field goal, which Dustin Hopkins booted through the uprights with 9:07 left.
But NC State followed with a lengthy and daring drive, which started at its own 30. The Wolfpack got across midfield before facing a 4th-and-4 at the FSU 36, and Wilson converted it with a 35-yard strike to Darrell Davis.
The touchdown was not a foregone conclusion, though, as Wilson was stuffed twice before James Washington was held to no gain. But on 4th-and-goal from the one, Wilson found Bryan open in the end zone, capping a drive that lasted more than six minutes.
The Seminoles began their last-chance drive at their own 29 and made it downfield in big gains. Ponder's 18-yard pass to Willie Haulstead moved the ball near midfield, and his 29-yard completion to Taiwan Easterling later in the drive put the ball at the 21 for a fresh set of downs, setting up the final dramatics.
After FSU punted on the game's opening possession, the Wolfpack drove 51 yards for a score, as Wilson got into the end zone from a yard out.
Neither team scored again until the second quarter, when the Seminoles quickly got three touchdowns. Ponder's three-yard rush with 7:12 left ended an eight- play, 75-yard drive to tie the game, and Florida State got another chance after Dean Haynes fumbled on the first play of the next drive.
The 'Noles set up at the NC State 18 and needed five plays to score, getting into the end zone on Ponder's two-yard run with 4:54 on the clock.
Florida State went 72 yards on its next touch, and Ponder's 11-yard TD pass to Haulstead made it a 21-7 game with 47 seconds remaining.
Ty Jones ran for 108 yards for Florida State, while Ponder completed 17-of-28 passes. He was also sacked three times. Bert Reed had six receptions for 87 yards to lead FSU receivers...Mustafa Greene led NC State with 76 rushing yards on 17 carries...Both teams are back in action on November 6. NC State plays at Clemson, while FSU hosts North Carolina.