The No. 13 Florida State Seminoles (5-2, 2-2 ACC) averted a homecoming disaster as they defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-2, 2-2 ACC) by a score of 17-6 last Saturday.
The Seminole offense generated 442 yards of offense but was also sloppy as they committed four turnovers against Wake Forest. Quarterback Deondre Francois fumbled once and threw an interception while junior running back Dalvin Cook fumbled twice. Despite the turnover bug, however, Francois still turned in a solid performance. Completing 22 of 37 passes for 319 yards, the redshirt freshman threw for a touchdown while also finding the end zone with his legs.
Francois’s two-yard scamper in the second quarter would be the only Seminole rushing touchdown of the game. Dalvin Cook and his incendiary speed were contained but he still ran for 115 yards on 25 carries against Wake’s defense. His longest run was 18 yards and he averaged 4.6 yards per carry.
Florida State’s lackluster running game was more than made up for in the passing attack. Junior wide receiver Travis Rudolph played absolutely out of his mind with career-highs in receptions and receiving yards.
Hauling in 13 receptions, Rudolph torched Wake’s secondary for 238 yards but somehow could not find his way into the end zone. His 13 receptions tied five other Florida State players for fifth most in a single-game while his 238 yards landed him fourth on the single-game list for that feat.
Though Rudolph was the headliner, it was an unsung hero within the receiving corps who helped seal this victory for the ‘Noles. With the score 10-6 in the fourth quarter, Francois hit sophomore wideout Auden Tate for an 11-yard touchdown to push the score to 17-6 with 7:32 left in the game. It was just Tate’s second catch of the game. He finished the day with a pair of grabs for 20 yards along with the decisive touchdown.
The Seminole defense made up for the offense’s off day. They forced three turnovers, allowed 252 total yards of offense, and allotted just two field goals to Wake.
The Seminole secondary had Wake quarterback John Wolford’s number as both cornerbacks picked him off. Senior Marquez White intercepted a slant route at the end of the first quarter while sophomore Tarvarus McFadden came down with a pick on Wake’s very next drive in second quarter.
In regards to tackles, junior safety Trey Marshall led the way with eight wrap ups. Behind him, linebacker Josh Sweat and defensive lineman Ermon Lane both tallied seven tackles a piece. Rounding out the dignitaries, defensive end DeMarcus Walker had six tackles and linebacker Ro’Derrick Hoskins followed him with five.
The ‘Noles defense practically lived in Wake’s backfield as they had five sacks on the day. DeMarcus Walker was the leader in this stat department as he brought down John Wolford twice. Behind him, Josh Sweat broke through and got himself 1.5 sacks. The rest were all 0.5 sacks efforts from Ro’Derrick Hoskins, Dontavious Jackson, and Demarcus Christmas.
In the kicking sphere, freshman Ricky Aguayo made one of his two field goal attempts on the day. He missed a 43-yarder in the first quarter but quickly made up for it with a make from 29 yards out later in the quarter. He remained perfect on his extra point attempts, as he nailed both of his tries.
In the punting realm, freshman Logan Tyler sent off five kicks and averaged 37.2 yards per attempt. His longest kick went 54 yards and none of them pinned Wake inside their own 20-yard line.
Despite a brilliant effort from Wake Forest, Florida State’s homecoming would not be spoiled. The Seminoles have now won five straight homecoming games, with this being their lowest margin of victory during the streak. With a bye week upcoming, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher is relieved that he can finally rest his players and heal up for the second half of the season.
Florida State will not take the field again until October 29th, when they do battle with the No. 4 Clemson Tigers (7-0, 4-0 ACC) at Doak Campbell Stadium. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. and can be seen on ABC.
As for Wake Forest, they will enter a bye week as well and resume play on October 29th. It will be their homecoming as they host the Army Black Knights (4-2) in Winston-Salem. Game time is 3:30 p.m. and it can be seen on the Charter Sports Southeast Network.