RALEIGH – The injury to quarterback Devin Leary might have signaled the end of NC State’s comeback chances against Florida State.
Instead, it was only the beginning.
After trailing by 14 at halftime, the No. 14 Wolfpack (5-1, 1-1) erased the Seminoles’ seven-point third-quarter lead behind three field goals from Chris Dunn as backup quarterback Jack Chambers and the NC State defense held on for a dramatic 19-17 win over Florida State on Saturday night at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Devan Boykin intercepted a pass from quarterback Jordan Travis in the end zone with 38 seconds remaining to secure the win.
After giving up 294 yards in the first half, the NC State defense held FSU to under 100 yards on offense in the second half, forcing Travis into two key interceptions.
Chambers, who had seven rushing yards on four attempts in two games this season, finished with 39 yards on seven carries while Jordan Houston carried the load with 24 carries and 90 yards.
NC State quarterback Devin Leary left the game with an apparent right shoulder injury with 4:59 left in the third quarter and his team trailing Florida State 17-10.
Leary, who was hit by FSU’s Joshua Farmer, left the game under his own power but was seen clutching his throwing arm as he headed for the locker room. The junior was 10 of 21 for 130 yards, a touchdown, and an interception before being replaced by Charleston Southern graduate transfer Chambers.
Chambers entered the game and led the Wolfpack to a 40-yard field goal, rushing for 21 yards on three attempts as Dunn cut the deficit to 17-13.
Leary returned to the sideline in a grey shirt and a sling around his right arm. Postgame, Doeren said Leary's x-rays came back negative which he called "a positive."
The Seminoles completely dominated the first half and even left points on the board on their way to a 17-3 halftime lead.
NC State’s defense, which after five games gave up an average of 94.4 yards a game on the ground, gave up 177 rushing yards in the first half while allowing runs of 22, 71, 39 and 26.
Jordan Travis’ 71-yard run set up his 14-yard touchdown pass to Mycah Pittman to give FSU a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter and a 39-yard run from Treshaun Ward made way for a 12-yard run from Lawrance Toafili with 48 seconds left in the half.
FSU’s offense had 294 total yards in the first half despite two key drops: one in the end zone and another that would’ve converted a third-and-20 pass deep in NC State territory.
A special teams blunder on a punt, allowing FSU’s Ontario Wilson to run untouched from his own nine into Wolfpack territory, led to a 46-yard Ryan Fitzgerald field goal as time expired.
NC State quarterback Devin Leary completed just 5 of 14 passes for 75 yards in the first half and was intercepted on a fourth-and-1 pass that ended a promising second-quarter drive. The offense went 0-for-6 on third down and averaged 4.4 yards a play to FSU’s 8.8.
Fans booed as the Pack left the field for halftime.
Saturday’s 8 p.m. kickoff was delayed due to power issues that affected the stadium lights at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Fans were asked to leave the stadium around 7 p.m. and were told the game would begin 47 minutes after the lights were turned on.
Team officials said athletic director Boo Corrigan met with Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren and FSU coach Mike Norvell to discuss the lighting situation. The lights turned on around 7:30 p.m., pushing the start to 8:12 p.m.
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: NC State football survives wild affair in dramatic win over Florida State