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October 26, 2013

Noles crush Wolfpack in Bowden's return

Box Score: FSU 49, NCST 17 | Video highlights

If there were any questions about a trap game for Florida State on Saturday, the Seminoles slammed the door early - and then kept slamming it over and over again.

Florida State hung more points in the first quarter than NC State had allowed in a game all season, and finished with a commanding 49-17 win.

The win was an important exorcism of demons from 2012 for FSU, after a painful 17-16 loss in Raleigh last year derailed FSU's national title hopes. Sandwiched between an emotional win at Clemson and next week's top-10 matchup against Miami, NC State was in a dangerous position on the schedule.

But with Bobby Bowden's much-hyped return to Doak Campbell Stadium, Florida State had no such slipups. Instead, after Bowden planted the spear at midfield surrounded by nearly 400 former players, FSU put an 1990s-esque beatdown on the Wolfpack from the outset.

Florida State left no doubt as to its intentions. The Seminoles scored 28 points in the first nine minutes of play and scored on one-play and two-play drives.

"It's a program step," Jimbo Fisher said. "Not a team, a program step. I was proud of them, I really was."

Jameis Winston threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns in the first half and more than 100 of them went to Rashad Greene. Greene, Kelvin Benjamin, and Nick O'Leary all caught first-quarter touchdown passes. Devonta Freeman and Karlos Williams combined for three more scores on the ground. Winston finished the game with 323 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

"We try to practice on starting off fast," Shaw said. "That's a strength of our team. We've seen in the past when we start off slow the game doesn't go too well like Boston College. We don't want to be in that predicament again."

Florida State's defense also held NCSU to just 85 first-half yards. The Seminoles forced three turnovers in the first half, two interceptions and a fumble recovered. Terrence Brooks led the way for the FSU defense, intercepting the first throw by NCSU quarterback Brandon Mitchell and forcing a fumble later in the game. FSU scored off both turnovers.

The first-team Seminole defense did not play in the second half, and NC State's offense did manage to produce in the second half. Shadrach Thornton's 72-yard touchdown run was the longest play FSU had given up all season. Thornton finished with 173 yards and two touchdowns, but 149 of those yards came in the second half.

"I tried to play a lot of young guys," Fisher said. "We've got to get better."

Florida State added a fitting homage to Bowden's legacy by trying - and converting - its first fake punt of the season. Facing fourth and seven from midfield late in the second quarter, Williams took the fake snap 17 yards to set up a touchdown. It was FSU's first fourth down attempt of the year.

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