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Florida State 49, North Carolina State 17

The SportsXchange

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Still seething from its upset loss a year ago against North Carolina State, No. 2 Florida State took out its frustrations in a big way Saturday with a 49-17 demolition of the Wolfpack.

The Seminoles, who were also ranked No. 3 and unbeaten last season when N.C. State stunned them in Raleigh, N.C., 17-16, jumped out to a 35-0 first-quarter lead and never looked back. Florida State not only atoned for last year's debacle, but did so in front of former coach Bobby Bowden, who was on hand -- for the first time since retiring in 2009 -- for a pregame tribute ceremony honoring his 34 years as head coach, NCAA-record 389 wins and two national titles (1993, '99). The ceremony was attended by nearly 400 of Bowden's former players.

And Florida State treated the man responsible for building FSU into a national powerhouse to yet another powerful performance in a season that's fast becoming full of them.

In that first-quarter explosion by FSU, the Wolfpack and starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell, who was seeing his first action since breaking his foot in Week 1, went the other direction. N.C. State managed just 32 yards on its first five possessions -- including two punts and two turnovers -- as the game got out of hand quickly.

Coming off a career-high 444 yards passing and five touchdowns in last week's win at Clemson, Heisman candidate Jameis Winston passed for 277 yards and three scores in the first two quarters alone before sitting most of the second half to rest for the Seminoles' second Top 10 showdown in three weeks next Saturday against No. 7 Miami. Winston finished 17 of 27 for 312 yards.

Terrance Brooks intercepted Mitchell on the second play from scrimmage, and it took Florida State (7-0, 4-0 in the ACC) just 1:25 to begin the rout.

FSU running back Karlos Williams opened the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown run, followed less than two minutes later by a one-play touchdown drive when Winston found receiver Kelvin Benjamin for a 39-yard strike.

After N.C. State's second straight three-and-out, FSU made it 21-0 on another 18-yard TD rush, this one by Devonta Freeman. And when the Seminoles' offense found itself back on the field less than a minute later following a Telvin Smith recovery of a fumble caused by Brooks, it took FSU just two plays and 11 seconds to make it 28-0 after Winston found tight end Nick O'Leary from 14 yards out for the touchdown.

The 35-point first quarter, which tied the school record, was then capped by Winston heaving a 42-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene. Following Mitchell's second interception -- this one picked off by FSU's Ronald Darby -- Freeman scored again on a four-yard scamper to send the Seminoles to halftime up 42-0.

Freeman led FSU's running backs with 12 carries for 92 yards and two scores, while Williams added 86 yards on 13 rushes and one touchdown. Greene paced FSU in receiving for the second straight game with eight catches for 137 yards and found the end zone once.

Florida State's defense, which sacked Mitchell four times, did the rest.

N.C. State (3-4, 0-4) was outgained 371-85 in the first half as the Wolfpack crossed into FSU territory only once. The Wolfpack's defense did force two turnovers -- a third-quarter interception of Winston by Dontae Johnson, who later picked off a second pass from FSU backup quarterback Jacob Coker -- as Johnson paced N.C. State with nine tackles.

The Wolfpack finally got on the board in the middle of the third quarter when they opted for a 32-yard field goal by Niklas Sade -- rather than go for it inside FSU's red zone and down six touchdowns -- at the end of their longest drive of the game (11 plays, 75 yards). N.C. State would eventually find the end zone at the end of the third quarter when Shadrach Thornton broke four tackles and rushed 72 yards for the score.

Thornton was the Wolfpack's lone source of offense Saturday, leading the way with 173 yards rushing, 32 yards receiving and two touchdowns, the second of which came with 7:16 left in the game on a 1-yard run. Mitchell finished 17-for-33 passing for 128 yards and two picks.

One series after halftime, Coker took over for Winston but led FSU to just one score -- a 31-yard touchdown run by backup running back Kermit Whitfield that capped a nine-play, 79-yard drive with 2:19 left in the game.

NOTES: N.C. State trails the all-time series, 23-11, following the loss, but it had won two of the last three meetings entering Saturday. ... FSU K Roberto Aguayo still has not missed a kick this season, breaking the school record by going 58-for-58 between PATs and field goals, including 7-for-7 on Saturday. ... N.C. State will look to regroup as it prepares for its annual rivalry game against North Carolina next weekend in Raleigh.

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