Florida State University

Last trip to North Carolina State was a painful lesson for Florida State Seminoles

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher (L) talks with Heisman quarterback Jameis Winston during warm ups before FSU's NCAA college football game against Clemson in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher (L) talks with Heisman quarterback Jameis Winston during warm ups before FSU's NCAA college football game against Clemson in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. AP

Nearly two years later, the memory of what happened the last time they were in Raleigh, North Carolina, still lingers with the Florida State Seminoles.

In the span of a 12-play, 43-yard drive late in the fourth quarter, North Carolina State completed a stunning comeback from 16 points down and dashed any national championship dreams the then-No.3 Seminoles might have harbored.

The 16 seconds left on the clock left then-FSU quarterback EJ Manuel time for three desperate passes, the last of which fell incomplete to seal a devastating 17-16 loss.

“It was very, very frustrating,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. “And very point blank.”

And, in a way, typical. Raleigh has never been kind to the Seminoles.

Not only is Fisher winless in his two visits there, but FSU has just three wins in its past eight games at Carter-Finley Stadium, dating to 1998.

And all five of those losses have come when the Seminoles were ranked and the Wolfpack was unranked.

Only a handful of current Seminoles played against N.C. State in 2012. But they haven’t forgotten the feeling.

“I remember scoring in the first half. And not scoring in the second half,” senior receiver Rashad Greene said.

“It wasn’t a good thing that year.”

And senior running back Karlos Williams, then a defensive back, described the locker room as “quiet. Very quiet. Dead silence.”

But out of a deeply disappointing defeat blossomed the most dominant run in Florida State history.

After that night, the Seminoles went on to win seven of their next eight games, captured their first Atlantic Coast Conference title since 2005 and won a BCS bowl game for the first time since 2000.

Which then, of course, launched an undefeated national-title run in 2013.

Since losing at N.C. State two seasons ago, the Seminoles have played 25 games. They have won 24 of them.

That includes a school-record winning streak that reached 19 games in dramatic fashion last week.

In their 23-17 overtime victory over Clemson, the Seminoles had to overcome a lot of adversity, not the least of which was a suspension to star quarterback Jameis Winston.

It was the kind of game that FSU teams of years past might have lost.

But Fisher believes that the lessons learned in that last, bitter defeat in Raleigh might have laid the foundation for something better.

“I think that loss may have had a huge impact on what happened the other night [against Clemson],” Fisher said.

“The guys at that time had chances to do some things then that, when we aren’t playing our best, we still have to figure out a way to play a situation, play smart, not give up and not give in.”

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