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Seeing Yellow: Seminoles defense felt doomed by 'questionable' penalties

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Raleigh, N.C. -- Florida State's defensive players know they didn't play well Saturday night.

The Seminoles, under the direction of first-year defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett, didn't get enough pressure on N.C. State quarterback Ryan Finley, they didn't smother the Wolfpack's beleaguered running game, and they gave up far too many yards and points.

But when they left Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday night, FSU’s players were adamant that they didn't play nearly as poorly as the 47-28 final score might have indicated.

"It was really the penalties," said FSU junior defensive end Brian Burns, who finished the night with four tackles and a team-high two tackles for loss. "Penalties hurt us a lot. I mean, a lot of those calls were questionable. We can't win a game with, I don't know, 20-or-so penalties. It's just not gonna happen."

It wasn't quite 20 penalties, but it might have felt that way.

The Seminoles were flagged for major penalties (automatic first downs) on four of N.C. State's first seven scoring drives, helping the Wolfpack race out to a 37-14 lead midway through the third quarter.

"I definitely feel like some of those calls were bad calls," said sophomore defensive back Stanford Samuels III, who moved from safety to cornerback this week with starter Levonta Taylor sidelined by injury. "But it's the game we play, it's the position we play. You've got to fight through it. You've just got to continue to play the game and play the next play."

The tough calls came early and often.

On N.C. State's third drive of the game, Samuels appeared to break up a pass on second-and-8 from the Seminoles' 14-yard line. He instead was called for pass interference, which set the Wolfpack up at the 2-yard line. They ended up kicking a field goal to make it 10-0.

N.C. State's Rickey Person Jr. celebrates a touchdown in the second quarter Saturday.
Associated Press

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