NOTEBOOK: Pack Hangs Tough

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State became bowl eligible last night with a huge 28-24 victory over Atlantic Division rival Florida State. Here are some Wolfpack notes and quotes following the victory.

No. 16 Florida State was the first ranked opponent the Wolfpack has faced this season. Dating back to the season finale last season against No. 23 North Carolina, NC State has defeated its last two ranked teams it has faced. In all, Tom O'Brien is now 5-4 versus ranked teams in his four seasons at NC State.

Russell Wilson's legs, not his arm, were the key to the Wolfpack's victory tonight. Wilson rushed for three rushing touchdowns today.

The last NC State quarterback to rush for three touchdowns in a single game was Preston Poag, who rushed for three against Western Carolina on Sept. 3, 1988.

For his career, Wilson is now responsible for 80 touchdowns. That mark ranks second in NC State history and is fifth in the ACC record books.

The Wolfpack jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter tonight, but was down 7-21 by halftime. But the Wolfpack would storm back in the third quarter, squaring the game at 21-21 all after two scores.


On Russell Wilson:
He played like he's been playing. He got after it. He led us down the field and he's just a great leader. I'd follow him anywhere and do anything for him.

On the FSU fumble at the end of the game:
"It was a man-to-man play where we had a blitz on one side and coverage in the back. 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."

On Playing with an injured hand: "I can't describe the pain, but being a captain of my team, I had to suck it up and go out and fight for my team.

On containing Ponder: "He's a great quarterback and a great athlete. A couple of times he broke containment on us and they got great plays with him running the ball, but for the most part we were defensively sound and we came away with the win."

On Russell Wilson: "I see him do it every day in practice. Nothing he does surprises me. I'm just surprised he doesn't do it more often."

"This is great. But it's on to the next one now.

"One of our running backs went down and I was able to get the opportunity in the second half. We knew we were going to have to run the ball down their throat and we took advantage.

"I knew I had to keep my feet under me and run behind the line."

On Ponder:
"He's a hard runner. He's a lot like Russell Wilson. He never quit. We knew that we needed to try to get the ball out of his hands."

On FSU Offensive Line: "The first quarter we did pretty good and in the second quarter we got slapped a little bit. In the second half we came back and told ourselves that we're good. We're not bad and we're not average. We knew we had to come out and play hard. It was just getting our minds set – knowing this was a physical game and we had to be more physical than they were."

On overall play of NC State:
"This team showed its toughness tonight. They (Florida State) jumped out to a 21-7 lead on us before halftime, but we were able to go into the locker room and get organized. We had a good drive to start the third quarter. Then we got a turnover, and scored again to make it 21-21. The rest of the game basically came down to two plays, and we capitalized on both. It was a great win for us and for all the fans."

On deciding to go for the touchdown instead of kicking a field goal: "When the field goal team went on, we knew we had some time still on the clock. Dana (Bible) was yelling at me to go for six, so we let the clock run down and then called a timeout. We thought we had a great play and Russell (Wilson) made a good throw to George (Bryan)."

On the play of Russell Wilson: "I think he showed his leadership skills tonight. He had some great runs and made plenty of plays tonight. He's always had the green light to run, but I think sometimes he has found himself in trouble because he didn't step into the pocket. Tonight, he stepped up in the pocket and found some lanes."

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