RALEIGH — Owen Spencer recognized the version of Russell Wilson in N.C. State's 28-24 win over No. 16 Florida State on Thursday night.
"That was the old Russell Wilson, the '08, redshirt-freshman year Russell Wilson," Spencer, the senior receiver said.
Wilson, a junior, ran for a season-high 69 yards against the Seminoles with a career-best three rushing touchdowns. He also completed 18 of 28 passes for 178 yards with a touchdown, but it was his running ability, the way he improvised, that made his teammates nostalgic.
Spencer rattled off a list of vegetables to describe the vintage version of Wilson.
"He was a butterball, a candied yam, a sweet potato," Spencer said. "Make sure you put sweet potato."
Wilson, who said he was just "taking what the defense was giving him," laughed at Spencer's word play.
"I guess that's a compliment," Wilson shrugged.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher was more succinct in describing Wilson's resurgence as a runner.
"His legs won the game," Fisher said.
Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien said Wilson was smart in when he ran, and how he ran, stepping up and through FSU's pass rush, instead of trying to run around it.
O'Brien said "the most absurd thing on the face of the earth" was that anyone on the coaching staff has tried to rein in Wilson's scrambling ability.
"No one has ever told him not to run the football," O'Brien said.
Wilson ran 116 times for 388 yards in '08 and 103 times for 260 yards in '09. He boosted his rushing numbers to 269 in eight games so far this season on Thursday.
Flag football: Florida State has always been among the ACC's most penalized teams. The Seminoles were flagged 10 times for 91 yards on Thursday.
On one series in the second quarter, they had an illegal man downfield and illegal motion before punting. It was fitting that defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for wrestling with guard Zach Allen with 38.4 seconds left with the Pack in the "victory" formation.
The Pack was error-prone, too, with nine penalties for 60 yards.
Noting: Freshman running back Mustafa Greene had two carries for 9 yards during the first half. In the second half, he ran 15 times for 70 yards. "He was rested," O'Brien said. ... N.C. State's is 9-8 in Thursday night games on ESPN with a 2-3 record vs. FSU.
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