The Wolfpack struggled to move the ball on the road, losing to the Seminoles to start off ACC play 0-1.
The N.C. State Wolfpack entered a road contest in Tallahassee with a ton of questions.
There were questions about the defense, who was gashed for 369 yards and wore down as the game went on.
And there were questions about the ceiling of this team. Questions that will only grow louder after the Wolfpack was trounced by the Seminoles, 31-13 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on Saturday night.
The Seminoles entered the game without starting quarterback James Blackman, who reinjured his knee in Friday’s practice and was unable to play. It ended up being no problem, as Alex Hornibrook expertly led the Seminole offense, finishing 29-40 with three touchdowns.
The teams traded field goals throughout the first two quarters, with N.C. State holding a 6-3 lead until Hornibrook was able to hit Tamorrion Terry for a 43-yard touchdown to push Florida State ahead 10-6.
Florida State struck again before the half, with Hornibrook hitting Ontaria Wilson for a 40-yard strike with 58 seconds left in the half. They pushed the lead to 24-6 on another passing touchdown to Terry late in the third.
And while the Florida State offense was rolling, the Wolfpack offense sputtered and died.
McKay started the game and completed three of seven passes for 20 yards before being relieved by Hockman. Hockman inherited great field position on his first drive but was only able to push a field goal across. He finished 21-40 with one touchdown but was battered by the Florida State defense and never was able to get the Wolfpack offense in a rhythm.
N.C. State lost sophomore running back Ricky Person Jr. to what appeared to be a bad left leg injury early in the game. He was carted off the field with an air cast on his ankle.
Potentially the only positive from this game for N.C. State was the appearance of Devin Leary, who appeared in mop-up duty and looked excellent. He was 4-5 for 54 yards and would’ve had a touchdown had Max Fisher not fumbled before entering the end zone.
The quarterback battle will undoubtedly be a major question for N.C. State this week, as McKay, Hockman, and Leary each have a chance to start in two weeks when the Wolfpack takes on Syracuse.
The Wolfpack will have to rebound quickly to avoid this season spiraling and it’s fair to wonder whether this current team has enough talent to compete this year. With wins over lowly East Carolina, Western Carolina, and Ball State, and blowout losses to West Virginia and Florida State, the Wolfpack is going to have a tough time inspiring confidence in even the most loyal of Wolfpack fans.