Bailey Hockman picked a good time for one of his finest games for North Carolina State.
It came against his former team, as Hockman threw for three touchdowns and ran for a score as the Wolfpack defeated Florida State 38-22 on Saturday night.
“It definitely is a little personal,” Hockman said. “But it is no type of revenge or anything like that. It’s just great to win. The guys played great.”
Hockman, who began his collegiate career in 2017 at Florida State, was 24-for-34 passing for 265 yards and an interception. The redshirt junior said he was hyped up to face the Seminoles, but he had plenty of support.
“Everybody is playing well and all 11 guys are doing their job,” Hockman said. “That’s the chemistry you want.”
Thayer Thomas, a redshirt senior, made a career-high 11 catches for a career-best 135 yards and two touchdowns.
NC State (5-3, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a two-game skid.
Freshman Chubba Purdy got his first career start for Florida State, completing 15 of 23 passes for 181 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
The Seminoles (2-6, 1-6) have lost three straight games since upsetting then-No. 5 North Carolina.
“We’re making too many mistakes when it comes to what’s necessary to win a college football game,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said.
Hockman had a hot hand from the get-go and that helped the Wolfpack get off to a strong start.
Emeka Emezie dodged defenders on his way to a 21-yard touchdown reception for N.C. State to conclude a game-opening 12-play, 75-yard drive. Hockman was 8-for-8 passing for 93 yards on the possession.
“He was on fire early, very accurate,” NC State coach Dave Doeren said. “When your quarterback is playing like that and you get off to a good start, it can give people on the sideline a lot of confidence.”
Hockman threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Thomas early in the second quarter. Hockman ran 4 yards for a 21-3 lead with 1:32 to play in the first half. His final touchdown throw came on a 24-yard play to Thomas in the third quarter.
Zonovan Knight’s 18-yard touchdown run opened the second-half scoring and gave N.C. State a 28-3 lead. He ended up with 94 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Florida State’s Jashaun Corbin scored on a 28-yard fourth-down run in the third quarter. Purdy connected on touchdowns of 69-yards to Ontaria Wilson and 24-yards to Warren Thompson for the Seminoles, who dropped to 0-4 in road games.
Those provided some encouraging moments for Purdy.
“I thought Chubba competed extremely hard,” Norvell said. “He was able to make plays not only with his arm but with his legs. It was one of those games that was a challenge, especially when we got behind. … I think every opportunity that he gets is critical for his development.”
Florida State: Quarterback Jordan Travis didn’t travel with the Seminoles. It was speculated that he might not be available after sitting out the second half a week earlier against Pittsburgh. Purdy became the fourth QB to start a game for Florida State this year. The Seminoles also had four freshmen start on the offensive line. Travis had scored at least one rushing touchdown in five consecutive games – a program record for a Florida State quarterback.
NC State: The Wolfpack’s defense allowed at least 495 yards of total offense in four of its first seven games. That trend came to a halt as Florida State was limited to 347 yards -– with nearly half of those in the fourth quarter.
GO FOR IT
Both teams failed on fourth-down plays in the first quarter.
The Wolfpack was at the Florida State 10 when it was stuffed. Florida State failed to convert a fourth-down run at its own 31.
NC State turned that into its second touchdown of the game for a 14-0 lead.
“That was definitely a big confidence boost for us,” Wolfpack linebacker Isaiah Moore said of the defensive stop.
On Florida State’s next possession, it converted a fourth-and-1 play on Corbin’s 4-yard run and cashed in on Parker Grothaus’ 48-yard field goal.
The Seminoles entered the game 9 for 19 on fourth downs, the eighth-most attempts nationally. They finished 5 for 7 in that category Saturday – with three of those conversions coming on a third-quarter touchdown march.
Florida State: Home vs. No. 4 Clemson next Saturday.
NC State: Home vs. No. 22 Liberty, which is undefeated, next Saturday.