PARTING SHOTS: Florida State

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Here are some final thoughts and observations from NC State's first loss of the season.

Here are some final thoughts and observations from NC State's first loss of the season, a 56-41 defeat to No. 1 Florida State.


MAN OF THE HOUR: Junior quarterback Jacoby Brissett nearly accounted for 400 yards of total offense, passing for 359 yards (32-of-48) and rushing for another 38 on 13 carries. He also tossed three touchdowns and didn't throw an interception.

Through five games, Brissett has tossed thirteen touchdowns and rushed for a score and has thrown just one pick all season.

He continues his stellar play, and the Wolfpack will need him to be on his game at Clemson this weekend.

CLOSE SECOND: Playing in his first ACC game, Bo Hines was outstanding.

The freshman wideout caught eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown, and there were other times he was open as well.

Hines is extremely reliable and does a great job of getting open against man coverage, something you can expect Brissett to exploit going forward. CLOSE THIRD: Shadrach Thornton really likes playing Florida State.

Last year he rushed for over 170 yards in Tallahassee, and on Saturday he accounted for 145 yards of total offense. He rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns and Thornton added another 60 yards on seven catches.

He was physical at the point of attack and has developed a nice one-two punch with sophomore Matt Dayes.

TURNING POINT: NC State held a three-point lead late in the third quarter when Jacoby Brissett, who hadn't committed a turnover all game, fumbled while being sacked by Lorenzo Featherston.

Brissett's fumble was recovered by Florida State at the Wolfpack's six-yard line (a loss of 17 yards) and two plays later the Seminoles took their first lead of the game, 42-38, on a Jameis Winston four-yard strike to Rashad Greene.

FSU never trailed again.

SOLID STRATEGY: NC State offensive coordinator Matt Canada did a great job of taking advantage of Florida State's speed and aggressiveness for much of the game.

He ran misdirection plays to get the defense flowing one way and attacking another, perhaps the best being a long completion to tight end David Grinnage in the first quarter.

Canada also found ways to get Brissett throwing on the move, something he excels at, while also negating some of Florida State's pressure, especially early on.

Finally, he mixed up the tempo well. He huddled, went no-huddle, and went "turbo" at various times, and did so with a lot of success.

The Wolfpack offense scored 41 points on one of the top defenses in the country... can't ask for much more than that.

NUMBERS GAME: Sophomore tailback Matt Dayes now has a team-high four touchdown catches (in just five games) this season, the most for a Pack tailback in a single season since Roland Hooks also had four in 1974 (in 12 games).

NUMBERS GAME II: NC State became the first-ever Florida State opponent to score 24 points in the first quarter, a span of 768 first quarters in Florida State football history.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Senior punter Wil Baumann was terrific again, averaging 47.6 yards on five punts. He had two 50+ yard punts, a punt that was muffed and recovered for a turnover, and three that were downed inside the 20-yard line.

RED ZONE REPORT: NC State's defense struggled and the offense was very good.

The Wolfpack offense made seven trips into the red zone and just once did they not convert, a Jacoby Brissett fumble in the fourth quarter. They scored four touchdowns and Niklas Sade kicked two field goals.

Defensively, the Pack allowed six FSU red zone trips and the Noles scored six touchdowns. That's not good.

• The third-down defense. FSU converted 8-of-11 tries and Jameis Winston picked up a crucial third down with a run on the last crucial drive.

• The big-play battle. Florida State had 18 "chunk plays" (runs of 10+, passes of 15+) to 11 for the Wolfpack. Five of FSU's went for touchdowns.

• The second-half rush defense. Florida State had just 16 yards rushing at halftime, but they finished with 166. Karlos Williams really turned it on, totaling 126 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

HIT SQUAD: Redshirt junior safety Hakim Jones led the Wolfpack with ten tackles, including five solos.

HIDDEN HERO: Redshirt freshman Jerod Fernandez did a great job of blanketing star tight end Nick O'Leary.

Fernandez recorded two interceptions (both were on targets to O'Leary), and O'Leary finished the game with zero catches.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Fernandez missed some time while battling cramps, and true freshman Airius Moore came off the bench to record five tackles in limited action.

• Johnathan Alston and Bo Hines both had touchdown catches, the first of their brief Wolfpack careers.

•NC State is the first team to score at least 38 points against Florida State since Virginia Tech had 44 in the 2010 ACC Championship game.

• Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes are now tied for second in the ACC in touchdowns with seven. They trail Pittsburgh tailback James Conner (9).

• Jacoby Brissett's 13-to-1 TD:INT ratio is the best in the ACC.

• NC State's 27 team touchdowns is the most in the ACC. Duke is second with 23.

• NC State's 19 red zone touchdowns are the most in the ACC and their 76% touchdown conversion percentage in the red zone is second-best in the league. UNANSWERED QUESTION: NC State played hard and left a lot on the field in the loss to Florida State. Will they be able to bounce back and be mentally, and physically, ready to face a talented Clemson squad?

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