Clear skies and pleasant weather highlighted the day for the top ranked team in the land, as the Florida State Seminoles defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 43-3.
The Seminoles (5-0, 3-0 ACC) were able to remain undefeated despite another slow start, something that has become a trend of late.
Even with the slow start the Seminoles extended their nation-best win streak to 21 games.
Nail-bitters are nothing new to the Noles, as they come off of bak-to-back games that were largely in doubt until the end.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher was pleased with the way his defense bounced back after a string of games where tackling was subpar.
“Very proud of our defense, they were outstanding,” Fisher said. “We got some turnovers so you can stop asking about em(sic)."
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston wasn’t particularly sharp early, but got the job done.
Winston went 23 of 39 for 297 yards with a touchdown and one interception, he also had a touchdown on the ground.
When asked about the offense’s inability to start quickly, he took sole accountability for the sluggish starts.
“That’s on me, I gotta to get us going and I gotta to get us started fast,” Winston explained. “Florida State realized, ‘Hey we gotta score.’"
Winston did most of his work without his go-to wide receiver senior Rashad Greene, who left the game at halftime with a concussion.
Greene was able to extend his streak of games with at least one catch to 34. Greene also passed Florida State great Peter Warrick on the all-time receptions list with his 209th career catch.
Loose ball handling plagued both teams early, as the Seminoles had a pair of turnovers on their first two drives; and the Demon Deacons (2-4, 0-2 ACC) losing a fumble on their second drive.
The Demon Deacons were able to strike first as they had a seven play, 23-yard drive to take a 3-0 lead on a field goal by redshirt freshman kicker John Armstrong. This was the Deacs first score in Tallahassee since 2008.
The Noles were shut out in the first quarter for the first time this season, as the offense only had possession for 4:26 in the period.
In the second quarter FSU responded with a field goal of their own by redshirt sophomore kicker Roberto Aguayo, from 43 yards out. The kick capped an 11 play, 49-yard drive that was highlighted by a 14-yard scamper from Winston.
The field goal was the first of five on the day by Aguayo.
The Noles traded punts with Wake Forest for most of the second quarter until they put a six-play, 50 yard drive finished off by a 2-yard rushing touchdown for Winston.
The Noles would add another field goal to go into the half ahead 13-3. Swarming defense was a sight for sore eyes as the Noles recorded 10 tackles-for-loss in the first half. The result led to Wake Forest accounting for -26 yards rushing in the half.
The Noles started the second half with a 52-yard boot from Aguayo with just over 12 to play in the period. It was Aguayo's longest kick of the season thus far.
Momentum stayed on the side of the Noles as junior cornerback P.J. Williams intercepted a pass from freshman quarterback John Wolford. Two plays later redshirt sophomore running back Mario Pender trotted in for a 3-yard touchdown to open up lead to 23-3 with 5:10 left in the third.
25 seconds later the Noles lit the scoreboard up again, this time on a scoop and score by junior linebacker Reggie Northrup. He forced and recovered a fumble by freshman running back Isaiah Robinson and returned it 31 yards for the touchdown to take a 30-3 advantage.
From that point on the game was no longer in doubt.
Northrup led the charge for the energized Noles defense with eight tackles and his touchdown. He credited the tough week of practice as the reason for the renewed focus and turnovers.
“It was really rewarding,” Northrup said. “We came out throwing the first blow and hit them in the mouth.”
The Noles will look to continue their momentum Sat. Oct. 11, when they travel to take on Syracuse University in an ACC clash. Kick-off is set for 12 p.m.