Sept. 19, 1996
No. 3 Seminoles Cruise Past Wolfpack, 51-17
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Thad Busby passed for 251 yards and two touchdowns as third-ranked Florida State raced to a 24-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 51-17 rout of North Carolina State in an Atlantic Coast Conference game.
Busby had touchdown passes of 29 yards to E.G. Green and Andre Cooper for the Seminoles (2-0, 2-0 ACC), who performed far better offensively than in their season-opening 44-7 rout of Duke two weeks ago. Florida State had only 221 yards in that game. Backup Dan Kendra also threw for two scores as the Seminoles improved their all-time conference mark to 33-1.
"It was a better performance than last week, but we're not satisfied at all" said Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. "We're not happy with everything. I'm very concerned about the turnovers and the big plays special teams gave up.
"I thought the defense played well. I thought Thad played pretty well most of the time, but the lights seemed to go out in the third quarter," he added. "We've got to solve a lot of problems if we're going to beat North Carolina."
Florida State was leading 3-0 late in the first quarter when tailback Warrick Dunn raced 51 yards to the North Carolina State 29. On the next play -- the last of the first quarter -- Busby rolled right and fired a strike to the corner of the end zone where Green made a diving catch while keeping his knees in bounds for a 10-0 lead.
Dunn added a one-yard run to make it 17-0 with 9:54 to play in the first half to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive. He finished with 108 yards rushing and 49 yards receiving. Byron Capers capped the first-half scoring 91 seconds later when he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone. The punt was blocked by Troy Saunders.
"I thought we played a lot better than the Duke game, but we still have to keep improving," Dunn said. "The offensive line blocked much better tonight. We need to keep improving every game to reach our ultimate goal."
Alvis Whitted returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, the first for North Carolina State (0-2, 0-2) since he ran one back 97 yards against Maryland on November 5th, 1994. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown against the Seminoles since Syracuse's Qadry Ismail ran one back 95 yards in 1991.
Florida State has won the last six meetings between the schools and leads the series, 13-4. Last year, the Seminoles whacked North Carolina State 77-17, rolling up 725 yards.
Marc Primanti ended Florida State's shutout bid with a 29-yard field goal to make it 24-3. Busby then marched the Seminoles 65 yards in 84 seconds, capped by his 29-yard scoring strike to Cooper.
"Everybody needed to pick up the pace tonight and I think everybody did," said Busby, who utilized a no-huddle offense. "I really liked using the fast break, no-huddle. It seems like all our players are really used to it and we worked out of it well tonight. I was able to put some zip on the ball and also throw deep. The offense can still get better and we need to keep improving by cutting down on our mistakes."
Shevin Smith, the cousin of Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro linebacker Derrick Thomas, ran an interception back 61 yards to extend the lead to 37-3 with 3:21 left in the third quarter. It was the first defensive touchdown of the season for Florida State and the first interception return for a TD by a Seminole since Clifton Abraham ran one back 29 yards against Wake Forest in 1993.
Tremayne Stephens scored from two yards out for the Wolfpack's first touchdown, but Kendra, a highly touted freshman from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, found Wayne Messam in the back of the end zone from 11 yards out for his first career scoring pass.
Whitted brought the ensuing kickoff all the way back to make it 44-17 with 7:57 left, but Kendra responded with a 13-play, 83-yard drive, capping it with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Peter Warrick that closed the scoring.
Florida State amassed 527 yards of total offense. Busby and Kendra combined to complete 24-of-42 passes for 345 yards. Kendra was 7-for-16 for 94 yards. Messam caught six passes for 72 yards.
Jose Laureano completed 11-of-33 passes for 119 yards and an interception for NC State. Stephens, who had 100-yard games against Florida State the previous two years, was held to 21 yards on 14 carries. The Wolfpack were held to 182 total yards.
"We knew coming in we weren't going to be able to run the ball," said NC State coach Mike O'Cain. "We had to try something to slow down the pass rush in the second half and we did that. We came out and ran the ball a couple of times and got a first down and slowed down the rush a little. ... We just weren't able to do it in the first half like we needed to."
Florida State 51, No Carolina State 17
1 2 3 4 F - - - - -- Florida St (3) 10 14 13 14 51 No Carolina St 0 0 3 14 17 FINAL Florida St-FG Bentley 46 Florida St-Eg Green 29 pass from Busby (Bentley kick) Florida St-Dunn 1 run (Bentley kick) Florida St-Capers recovered blocked punt in end zone (Bentley kick) No Carolina St-FG Primanti 29 Florida St-Cooper 29 pass from Busby (Bentley kick) Florida St-S Smith 61 interception return (kick failed) No Carolina St-Stephens 2 run (Primanti kick) Florida St-Messam 11 pass from Kendra (Bentley kick) No Carolina St-Whitted 96 kickoff return (Primanti kick) Florida St-Warrick 13 pass from Kendra (Bentley kick) Florida St No Carolina St First downs 27 17 Rushed-yards 36-182 40-57 Passing yards 345 125 Sacked-yards lost 4-19 6-38 Return yards 120 244 Passes 24-42-2 12-34-1 Punts 4-37.5 8-34.3 Fumbles-lost 2-0 0-0 Penalties-yards 10-103 5-23 Time of possession 28:40 31:20 Individual Statistics RUSHING: Florida St-Dunn 14-108, Coles 8-046, Kendra 5-025, Preston 3-023, Feaster 1-006, Abdullah 1-000, Busby 4-minus 26. No Carolina St-Stephens 14-21, Rod Brown 6-15, King 2-15, Spikes 4-13, Laureano 11-6, Chavis 1-minus 1, Barnette 2-minus 12. PASSING: Florida St-Busby 17-26-2-251, Kendra 7-16-0-94. No Carolina St-Laureano 11-33-1-119, Barnette 1-1-0-6. RECEIVING: Florida St-Messam 6-72, Dunn 5-49, Cooper 3-61, L Green 2-53, Pearsall 2-37, Warrick 2-29, Preston 2-22, Stringer 1-15, Feaster 1-7. No Carolina St-Grissett 6-60, Holt 4-41, Addis 1-14, M Thomas 1-10. Att: 45,700