RALEIGH, N.C. — Florida State played its most lethargic game of the season and was still able to escape with a victory.
Deondre Francois connected with receiver Travis Rudolph for a 19-yard touchdown, one play after North Carolina State safety Shawn Boone dropped an interception in the end zone. FSU's defense was able to stop the bleeding on the Wolfpack's final drive of the game, grinding out a 24-20 win Saturday night.
N.C. State's Ryan Finley, who entered the game ranked ninth in the ACC in quarterback rating, torched the Seminoles for 304 yards and converted 8 of 16 third-down attempts, but FSU was able to force two incompletions to seal the win.
"The defense did one heck of a job on that last stand to make a play," Jimbo Fisher said. "We learned to make one more play."
The No. 19 Seminoles (6-3, 3-3 ACC) clinched bowl eligibility and avoided back-to-back losses for the first time since 2011, Jimbo Fisher's second season at the school. N.C. State (4-5, 1-4) lost its fourth straight.
The Seminoles tied Nebraska's record by securing their 35th straight bowl appearance.
"It feels good, I'll tell you that," Fisher said with a laugh. "I feel good right now, I'm not going to lie.
"We're a couple plays from having a really tough season and a couple plays from having a phenomenal season. We have a young talented team that's learning how to persevere."
Francois completed 22 of 39 for 330 yards, while star running back Dalvin Cook will have to wait another week to hold FSU's career rushing record. Cook needed 192 yards to break former Bucs star Warrick Dunn's mark of 3,959. He finished with 18 carries for just 65 yards and a 10-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Cook did not touch the ball after his score, as Fisher depended on his redshirt freshman quarterback. Francois hit receiver Nyqwan Murray for a 37-yard gain on the final drive.