FINAL: Seminoles 14 - Wake Forest 35
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - For the first time this season the Florida State Seminoles will hit the road as they seek their first win of the 2021 campaign against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
The Seminoles are fresh off arguably their worst loss in program history, a 20-17 loss to Jacksonville State, their first loss to an FCS program in team history.
It’s been a week of reliving the nightmare and today, the Noles get a chance at some redemption.
While FSU comes in as a rather unlucky 0-2 side, Wake enters today’s game with two blowout wins under their belt, a 42-10 victory over Old Dominion and a 41-16 victory over former FAMU conference foe Norfolk State.
While the competition hasn’t been fierce, Wake has looked convincing in their wins, relying heavily on their run game: The Deacons are averaging 162.5 rushing yards on 36 attempts through two games this season while attempting just 29 passes (completing 18) for 220 yards.
Offensively for the ‘Noles, some clarity under center: The “or” has been taken off the depth chart and McKenzie Milton is the officially named starter for the first time this season.
It’s a big chance for a big bounce back as the ‘Noles have a chance to open their conference slate with a win. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN.
Below will be a running a live blog of tonight’s game. We’ll have score updates, analysis, stray observations and thoughts. For up-to-the-minute updates and analysis, be sure you’re following myself and WCTV Sports on Twitter.
FINAL: WAKE FOREST 35 - FLORIDA STATE 14
That...was tough to watch, folks. No one scores in the fourth quarter and the final four drives for the Seminoles end via turnover.
Our recap is here. For the first time since Bowden’s maiden voyage, the Seminoles are 0-3 to begin a campaign.
Be sure to stick around for Ryan Kelly as he’ll have FAMU/South Florida coverage for ya.
END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: WAKE FOREST 35 - FLORIDA STATE 14
Milton and the Noles are driving when we pick up play in the fourth quarter, looking to try to make things interesting.
3rd Quarter, 3:48: 35-14, Wake
FSU puts together maybe their best drive of the game, points aside, until they get inside the WF 15, where they stall out and are eventually stopped on 4th and 2, as McKenzie Milton can’t pick up the first down with his legs.
This was the first time the FSU backfield had really gotten involved in play, as both Corbin and Toafili had some major gains, but alas, no points for the Noles.
3rd Quarter, 7:05: 35-14, Wake
Wake Forest takes their first offensive possession of the half 90 yards down the field on 14 plays and put the exclamation point on it with a Justice Ellison one-yard rush, plus a good two-point conversion.
Also on the drive, FSU’s Sidney Williams was ejected for targeting, so he’s ejected for the rest of this game plus will miss the first half of Louisville next week.
Wake is nearly in cruise control at this point unless the Seminoles find some offense. And fast.
HALFTIME: WAKE FOREST 27 - FLORIDA STATE 14
Wake adds a field goal with about 30 seconds left in the half as we are at the break.
2nd Quarter, 3:16: 24-14, Wake
Jordan Travis to Ontaria Wilson. 65-yard touchdown strike.
I feel like that’s all I need to say. We know the big-play ability of Travis (and Wilson, for that matter) but we’ve yet to really see it this year. Until that. Is this the start of a momentum shift?
2nd Quarter, 3:25: 24-7, Wake
Nick Sciba nails a 42-yard field goal as Wake extends their lead.
The Deacons took over in plus territory after a bizarre sequence: The officials made Jordan Travis leave the field, he was then told by Mike Norvell to fall on the field to look hurt before immediately getting back up and running onto the sideline only for Milton to immediately throw a pick on the next play.
This has been a weird half of football.
2nd Quarter, 10:50: 21-7, Wake
WF once again has a two-score lead as Sam Hartman found Donald Stewart for an 11-yard touchdown reception.
FSU looked to have stopped WF within field goal range, but still out of the endzone, when FSU’s Jarrian Jones was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty on a late hit out of bounds when contact was made in-play. The officials surmised Jones threw the WF receiver to the floor, and replays of the play don’t exactly tell the story.
Back to work for the FSU offense and, presumably, for Jordan Travis, who led the Noles down the field for a score last time out.
END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: WAKE FOREST 14 - FLORIDA STATE 7
All things considered, things could be worse for the Noles.
1st Quarter, 0:55: 14-7, Wake
The Noles are on the board for the first time today!
With Jordan Travis under center, the Noles march 75 yards on seven quick plays with Travis connecting with Treshaun Ward for the score.
The Noles were helped by two different 15-yard penalties by the WF defense, but they’ll take it.
1st Quarter, 3:36: 14-0, Wake
Well that was maybe the worst series of football I’ve seen all season, if not in the last couple of seasons.
The Noles *thought* they had themselves a three-and-out on defense, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the ball right back to Wake, who marched down the field 65 yards in eight plays and Christian Beal-Smith put the exclamation point on the drive with a seven-yard score.
Worth noting: FSU has 18 total yards of offense and has 17 penalty yards (on just two penalties).
1st Quarter, 8:00: 7-0, Wake
WF thought they were cruising into the Noles’ redzone, but FSU had other plans.
Jammie Robinson ripped the ball out of the Wake receiver and Brendan Gant was there to pick it out of the air. A welcome momentum swing for FSU. (Oh, the game is now on ESPN, as was scheduled, after Cincy defeated IU.)
1st Quarter, 12:27: 7-0, Wake
The first full series for the Seminoles ends after a three-and-out, with Jordan Travis at the helm under center. He took two designed runs and then went down for a third-down sack.
Going to the Travis well so quickly doesn’t bode well, in my mind, for the Noles’ confidence in their offensive plan for the day.
1st Quarter, 12:40: 7-0, Wake
Well the fumble comes back to bite the Seminoles, has Hartman connects with AT Perry for a 49-yard touchdown down the far sideline.
Seminoles already in the hole. The offense is back out.
1st Quarter, 13:26: 0-0
We’ve played less than two full minutes and we’ve already seen two turnovers. The first came by the Seminole defense, as Sidney Williams picked off WF’s Sam Hartman but then, two plays later, Jashaun Corbin fumbled it away just across midfield.
For those of you relying on TV for this one, the Noles and Deacons will get things going on ESPNU, with Cincinnati and Indiana still having about seven minutes left on ESPN.
Oh, hello there. It’s nice to see you again as I’ll be at the helm for an FSU game for the first time this season. I’d like to both shoutout and thank Will Desautelle for the superb coverage he’s been providing this year on the FSU football front - he’ll be your captain for a majority of the season, but is off tonight so I’m graciously stepping into his monster shoes for the afternoon. Let’s see how much like riding a bike this will be.
Okay, on to football: If you missed it, do check out Will’s in-depth preview of today’s matchup, but I have a couple of things I’d like to add as well before we get underway.
I’ll be looking to see how comfortable Milton looks under center now that he is “the” guy for Norvell in the offense. On the same token, I wonder how long a leash Milton has: I expect we might see a couple of Travis-design packages or plays, but if Milton struggles throughout the first quarter or first half, does Norvell consider moving Travis in full time?
I also wonder, in a big-picture view, how the defense will look after last week’s back-breaking walk off loss. They were able to keep Jacksonville State in check for most of the game, but not when it mattered most, and with a Deacons team that loves to run the ball (whether or not they’re successful at it seems irrelevant, at least at this point in the season) will FSU have enough to stop them.
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