NC State blitz drives upset of Seminoles

After taking a 16-0 lead into halftime, the Florida State Seminoles allowed 17 unanswered points in the second half and lost to the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Saturday.

The win was the first for NC State against a Top-5 opponent since 1998. That victory was also against Florida State, which was ranked No. 2 at the time.

In fact, the Seminoles have lost five of their last six games in Raleigh when they were ranked and North Carolina State was unranked. Their lone win came in 2004.

NC State picks apart Seminoles’ pass defense

Florida State’s pass defense, which allowed 128.4 pass yards per game to rank fourth in FBS entering the game, struggled after halftime.

Florida State 2nd Half Pass Defense
2012 Season

NC State’s 218 pass yards in the second half were the most allowed by Florida State in the last two seasons.

Additionally, the Wolfpack’s 12 passing first downs matched the most Florida State has allowed after halftime since the start of 2004.

North Carolina State had the same number of passing first downs on fourth down in the second half as it had total first downs through the air before halftime.

Prior to Saturday, teams averaged fewer than 50 second-half passing yards per game against the Seminoles’ defense. And after allowing just seven receptions of 10-or-more yards over its first five second halves, the Seminoles allowed 11 against North Carolina State.

Manuel struggles against pressure

With its pass defense eroding, Florida State’s offense struggled on the other side of the ball as EJ Manuel couldn’t handle NC State’s pressure in the second half.

EJ Manuel Passing Against the Blitz
Saturday vs NC State

NC State sent five or more pass rushers at a similar rate in the second half as it did in the first half, but Manuel failed to complete a pass against the added pressure after halftime.

All four of Manuel’s sacks occurred when the Wolfpack sent a blitz, most notably his fourth-quarter sack on third-and-two with around 10 minutes to go.

Coming into the game, Manuel had been able to handle pressure. He completed 73 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions against five or more pass rushers in the Seminoles’ first five games.

Eagles could take flight

The Seminoles face the Boston College Eagles next week. Boston College is 1-4 this season but ranks second in the ACC with 310.8 passing yards per game.

However, in their last two meetings against Florida State, the Eagles passed for a combined 208 yards. That is less than Mike Glennon passed for in the second half last week.