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Wolfpack QB facing former Seminoles teammates

By Aaron Beard

AP Sports Writer

Bailey Hockman has taken a winding path to become North Carolina State’s starting quarterback. His next chance to keep the Wolfpack’s offense rolling will come Saturday against a Florida State program in which Hockman once hoped to make an impact.

Hockman spent a redshirt season at FSU and a year in junior college without playing before joining the Wolfpack in January 2019. And this year, he’s gone from starter to reserve and back to starter due to coronavirus and injury issues that have sidelined Devin Leary.

Hockman is coming off a career-best passing performance in a shootout loss to ninth-ranked Miami for the Wolfpack (4-3, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), throwing for 248 yards and two scores as well as having a TD catch on a trick play. The goal now is to keep playing with confidence.

“He didn’t sit there and wait,” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. “He made quick decisions. … And I think just having the success and seeing his guys make those plays for him is just going to lead to more success for him.”

Hockman said he originally went to FSU in 2017 to play for Jimbo Fisher, who left for Texas A&M at the end of that season. Hockman lost a preseason position battle the next summer under new coach Willie Taggart, then opted to transfer.

“When (Fisher) left, that was kind of hard,” Hockman said. “But me and Taggart just kind of ended up having a little bit of a disagreement on things. Ultimately I just felt like it wasn’t where I was supposed to be at. And I felt like I needed to change, and it ended up working out pretty good.”

The Seminoles (2-5, 1-5) fired Taggart late last season and hired Mike Norvell, who led FSU to a big upset of then-No. 5 North Carolina in mid-October. But the Seminoles have lost by 32 points  to Louisville and 24 points to Pittsburgh since to squander that momentum.

“It’s challenging when you have disappointment there on gameday and you come up short,” Norvell said. “But the objective doesn’t change. Our job and responsibility as players and coaches is to get better and to go out there and put ourselves in the best position to win.”

Some other things to know about Saturday’s FSU-N.C. State game:

Roster worries

Norvell announced Wednesday that the Seminoles will have some  prominent names out of the lineup going forward.

The list includes preseason All-American defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and starting offensive lineman Devontay Love-Taylor being ruled out for the rest of the year due to injuries. Receiver Tamorrion Terry has left the team and backup quarterback James Blackman intends to transfer.

“The guys that are here have come to work each day this week and just continue to focus on their improvement and this football team,” Norvell said. “That’s something I appreciate. At the end of the day, it’s what we’re here to do.”

Dunn’s kicks

N.C. State’s Christopher Dunn is making sure the Wolfpack doesn’t come up completely empty on stalled drives. The junior is 7 for 9 on field goals, including a career-long of 53 yards against Virginia Tech and another of that length in last week’s loss to the Hurricanes. Dunn is now four field goals away from tying the school record of 55.

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