If you thought the story was going to be any different during Saturday's match-up between Florida State (0-3, 0-1 ACC) and Wake Forest (3-0, 1-0 ACC) then you were wrong. Once again, we were written a new chapter in the same book as the Seminoles lost, 35-14, behind blown coverages, penalties, turnovers, and overall offensive ineptitude. Head coach Mike Norvell remains winless (0-5) on the road.
Early on, it looked like the ball might finally bounce in #FSU's favor after redshirt freshman defensive Sidney Williams pulled down an interception on the opening drive. However, two plays later Wake Forrest recovered a Jashaun Corbin fumble and Sam Hartman swiftly found a wide-open receiver for a 49-yard touchdown, who beat Jarrian Jones.
Florida State's offense responded with back-to-back three-and-outs. The rhythm was inconsistent for the third straight game as head coach Mike Norvell rotated Jordan Travis and McKenzie Milton constantly. The Seminoles didn't have the same quarterback lead a back-to-back drive until their fifth possession of the game.
The defense buckled down after the big play on the opening possession, forcing a second turnover and stopping Wake Forest on third down to set up a punt. On the ensuing punt, Darion Williamson roughed the punter, giving the Demon Deacons the ball back which led to another touchdown.
Trailing 14-0, FSU finally showed some life behind Jordan Travis, driving 75 yards in seven plays to get on the board. Travis found Treshaun Ward in the backfield, who cut up into the endzone on the play.
After another Wake Forest touchdown that was aided by an inexplicable personal foul on Jarrian Jones, the 'Noles responded quickly. Travis hit a wide-open Ontaria Wilson in the secondary for a 65 touchdown to keep the game within distance. Wake Forest would go on to lead 27-14 at the break.
FSU started the third quarter with the ball but the offense quickly collapsed following Travis being sacked. On the play, the redshirt sophomore quarterback was also banged up, which meant McKenzie Milton was back in. In the meantime, the Demon Deacons drove down the field for another touchdown to extend their lead to 35-14 after a targeting penalty on Sidney Williams.
Milton came out hot, connecting on five of his first six passes to lead Florida State to the red zone. Following back-to-back big plays from Ward, the running back went to the sideline and watched Corbin and Milton get stuffed for a turnover on downs. In the fourth, the offense again showed some life early in the possession before stalling out in scoring territory. This time, the veteran quarterback fumbled into the end zone and the Demon Deacons recovered.
Later in the quarter, DJ Lundy and multiple Seminole defenders were able to stop Wake Forest on fourth down. On the next play, Milton went deep and threw his second interception of the game. Florida State turned it over a total of six times (three interceptions, three fumbles).
All in all, Wake Forest finished with 484 yards of offense. Sam Hartman made it look easy for the majority of the afternoon, completing 22 of 31 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns as FSU struggled to get a consistent pass rush and the secondary...well...yeah.
There's no understating it, this was an absolutely unacceptable performance from the Seminoles following the worst loss in school history. We needed to see this team show up today and fight until the final whistle. Instead, it continues to crumble in the face of adversity.
For the first time since 1976 (FORTY-FIVE YEARS), FSU starts out 0-3. It's time for some sort of changes to be made, whether that's with the roster on the field or the coaching staff.
It won't get any easier next week as Louisville (2-1) comes into Tallahassee. The Cardinals put up 42 points on Friday night in a thrilling win over UCF. Dual-threat quarterback Malik Cunningham will be a threat against an FSU defense that allowed 48 points in this match-up a season ago.