But there were smaller mistakes, too. Manuel had to burn two timeouts in a span of four plays early in the fourth quarter after the Wolfpack had pulled to within 16-10. Then he took a 15-yard sack on a third-and-2 from the N.C. State 19, which knocked the Seminoles out of field-goal range and forced them to punt in the one-possession game.
The Seminoles blew their final timeout challenging an incomplete-pass call along the sideline with 4:43 left, which proved crucial once the Wolfpack went ahead.
FSU also twice settled for first-half field goals on drives that had pushed inside the Wolfpack 20.
"When you're moving the ball and getting field goals when you needed touchdowns, you have to go out and know you need touchdowns in the red zone," Manuel said. "We have to be better on that next week."
The Seminoles are hoping to avoid any repeats of last year, when they followed their first loss to Oklahoma — Manuel suffered a shoulder injury in that one — with consecutive losses to Clemson and Wake Forest.
In fact, it was on Fisher's mind immediately after the N.C. State game.
"This was a tough loss, a heartbreaking loss," Fisher said. "We have to forget it and move on. This team isn't like last year. We have to regroup and move on."