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Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, North Carolina Attendance: 56,919
Boykin, defense help No. 14 NC State rally past FSU 19-17
By AARON BEARD
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Devan Boykin picked off Jordan Travis' pass in the end zone with 38 seconds left and No. 14 North Carolina State rallied past Florida State 19-17 on Saturday night despite losing quarterback Devin Leary to injury.
Boykin's clean catch in the end zone was the clinching play on a big - and gritty - performance by the Wolfpack's veteran defense after halftime. N.C. State (5-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) held Florida State (4-2, 2-2) to 93 yards after the break, helping the Wolfpack rally from a 17-3 halftime deficit.
Christopher Dunn also kicked four field goals, including a 53-yarder early in the fourth and the go-ahead 27-yard score with 6:33 left.
The Wolfpack needed every bit of it, too, considering how daunting things looked when Leary - the preseason league player of the year - went down late in the third. He was hit while trying to throw and suffered an injury to his right arm or shoulder, returning later to the sideline with his arm in a sling. That forced backup Jack Chambers into duty for an offense that was fighting for most of its gains even with Leary in the game.
Travis and the Seminoles found success before halftime with multiple chunk gains against the Wolfpack's touted defense, including a 71-yard keeper by Travis that set up a quick touchdown drive. But Travis threw interceptions on each of the Seminoles' last two drives, one into traffic near midfield with about 6 1/2 minutes left and the other when he lofted the ball for Mycah Pittman after the Seminoles had driven to the 23 needing a field goal for the lead.
FSU: The Seminoles had managed their first 4-0 start since 2015 before falling at home to No. 15 Wake Forest last weekend. They looked ready to come back with an impressive win by pushing out to the 17-3 lead, only to sputter after halftime with their share of mistakes - including a bizarre one when punter Alex Mastromanno carried the ball past the line of scrimmage and kicked it away for a penalty that led to a spot turnover and set up one of Dunn's field goals.
N.C. State: A season of high expectations hit its first bump with last week's loss to No. 5 Clemson, which put the Wolfpack in catch-up mode in the Atlantic Division race behind the preseason ACC favorite. Losing Leary for any time won't help the Wolfpack's immediate goals to push for a 10-win season, though it was an impressive show of resilience to find a way to win this one.
N.C. State fell four spots from No. 10 after the Clemson loss. It's unclear how this performance, or Leary's potential absence, will impact the Wolfpack's position in Sunday's next AP Top 25 poll.
Saturday's kickoff was delayed slightly because of a pregame lighting problem.
The game was set to kick off around 8:10 p.m. But as the sun went down, the stadium lights in Carter-Finley Stadium remained off with only ribbon and scoreboard lights offering illumination of the dimly lit field.
The school said the game wouldn't start for 47 minutes once the lights come on, though that ultimately amounted to a delay of just a few minutes beyond the scheduled TV kickoff time.
Florida State: The Seminoles host No. 5 Clemson next Saturday.
N.C. State: Syracuse hosts the Wolfpack next Saturday.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated October 9, 2022