For the second time this season, Florida State overcame a 21+ point deficit, however this time the team could not complete the final hurdle, falling on a last second 54-yard field goal.
Coming into Saturday’s game, it was known that the biggest weakness on UNC was its rushing defense, which Florida State attacked early. On the ‘Noles first drive of the game, all six plays were rushing attempts, however on a fourth and two at the UNC 30, Jimbo Fisher elected to kick a 45-yard field goal, which was missed by Ricky Aguayo.
UNC would answer right back with a 72-yard touchdown drive of its own, taking the 7-0 lead, and the only points scored by either team in the quarter.
On all three drives, Florida State got into UNC field territory, however Ricky Aguayo was unable to convert, missing three field goals with one being blocked.
The second quarter was once again UNC picking apart the Florida State defense. The Tar Heels amassed 200 total yards and scored 14 points while averaging eight yards per play.
The ‘Noles finally got on the board from a Dalvin Cook nine yard touchdown run, but that’s all the ‘Noles got, content with running the ball out with over a minute left in the half, following a Matthew Thomas forced fumble that gave FSU the ball back.
Each of Florida State’s first five drives in the first half reached UNC territory, but after three missed field goals and penalties, seven points is all FSU could gain.
The offense had no issues driving down the field, having 277 total yards at the break with 42% of its plays going for at least eight yards, however when it came to the end, most important part of the drives, the offense stalled.
After holding UNC to a long, missed field goal attempt, Florida State took the ball over and drove down the field for a touchdown on a six play touchdown drive, capped by a Jacques Patrick fumble recovery after having the ball knocked out at the goal line after rushing for 19 yards. It was Patrick’s first carry of the game.
The Tar Heels would answer right back, with a touchdown drive of its own thanks to yet another blown coverage play from the FSU defense, allowing UNC to get into great scoring position. The defense got away with another blown assignment a few plays later when the receiver dropped a sure touchdown.
The ‘Noles followed with a drive that included a 2nd and 32 from its own two-yard line, a roughing the punter penalty, a fourth down conversation before the team had completed a third down conversion in the entire game, and an offsides call on third and goal from the UNC two-yard line which Cook was tackled short of the end zone. In the end, Dalvin Cook ran it on on fourth and goal from the one to pull FSU within seven.
With 12:13 left in the fourth quarter, UNC punted for the first time, giving Florida State the chance to tie the game up. After a long, almost seven minute drive, Dalvin Cook evaded a tackler with a dazzling spin move, and ran in for a three-yard touchdown, his third of the game. With 5:11 left in the game, the game was tied for the first time since UNC’s first touchdown.
It wouldn’t be tied for much longer however after a 34-yard TD pass by UNC QB Mitch Trubisky, his third of the day with 2:31 left. Wally Aime would block the kick, leaving the North Carolina lead at six with one last shot for Florida State.
The drive would start with three penalties, and on third and nine, Dalvin Cook would catch a pass for 41 yards, with an additional 15-yards for roughing Deondre Francois.
With just 23 seconds left, Deondre Francois completely baffled a defender by dipping under the diving defender, and took it into the end zone by himself. A Ricky Aguayo point after attempt would put FSU up by one.
UNC would get the ball on its own 25-yard line, and after a Tarvarus McFadden pass interference call, the Tar Heels would be set up for a last second 54-yard field goal, a career long for North Carolina kicker Nick Weiler.
Deondre Francois finished on the day 20-32 with 372 yards and one rushing touchdown. Dalvin Cook added another 100-yard rushing game, compiling 140 yards on 29 attempts and another 106 yards through the air. Leading the receivers was Bobo Wilson who had 120 yards on six receptions, with tight end Mavin Saunders contributing a nice amount with 74 receiving yards.
On defense, Matthew Thomas led the team with eight tackles with Jacob Pugh snatching the only fumble recovery by Florida State.
Florida State will now prepare for it’s first true rivalry game of the season when it travels to Miami next Saturday for a game with the Hurricanes.