RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Deondre Francois threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Travis Rudolph with 3:09 left to help No. 19 Florida State rally to beat North Carolina State 24-20 on Saturday night.
Francois threw for 330 yards while Dalvin Cook ran for a touchdown on an otherwise quiet night for the Seminoles (6-3, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who never led until the final minutes.
The Seminoles then came up with a final stop, forcing Ryan Finley to overthrow Nyheim Hines on fourth down after the Wolfpack (4-5, 1-4) had driven near the red zone with about 2 minutes left.
"They still believe in each other, believe in what we're doing and they believe in this program," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "And they want to be a part of history and what this program has meant in the past. And I think that carries them today. There's a lot of pride in this group."
Hines had a career-best 11 catches for 124 yards for the Wolfpack while Matt Dayes ran for 104 yards. But the Wolfpack didn't do enough to finish off the Seminoles when there were chances, most notably when Shawn Boone dropped a sure interception in the end zone one play before Rudolph's winning score.
"We've lost a lot of heartbreakers," Hines said. "Every week it seems we're in a game and we just keep finding ways to lose instead of winning."
Florida State: The Seminoles had fallen out of contention in the Atlantic Division with last week's loss to Clemson, but they showed they're going to keep fighting in a game where little more than becoming bowl eligible was on the line.
N.C. State: It's hard to figure where the Wolfpack goes from here. N.C. State has been unable to find its footing ever since a crushing loss at Clemson and hasn't won since, a four-game skid that is reducing its chances of becoming bowl eligible by the week.
Florida State: The Seminoles get a Friday home game against Boston College and look to improve to 7-0 against the Eagles under Fisher. BC's last win in the series was in 2009.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack must win two of the final three games to become bowl eligible, starting with next week's trip to Syracuse. N.C. State is 8-1 in the series, the only loss coming in coach Dave Doeren's first season in 2013.
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