No. 23 Florida State suffers first loss of the season in lackluster performance against No. 22 Wake Forest

Florida State Seminoles cheerleaders carry the flags ahead of the football team before the...
Florida State Seminoles cheerleaders carry the flags ahead of the football team before the 'Noles game against Wake Forest.(Ryan Kelly | WCTV)
Published: Oct. 1, 2022 at 9:42 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Noles247) - No. 23 Florida State suffered their first loss of the season, losing 31-21 to No. 22 Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. The Seminoles (4-1, 2-1 ACC) came up short in every phase of the game, while the Demon Deacons (4-1, 1-1 ACC) were able to own the ball and capitalize on miscues by their opponent.

FSU opened the game with a six play drive that went 83 yards for a touchdown, an 18-yard completion from quarterback Jordan Travis to wide receiver Mycah Pittman. It was Pittman’s first touchdown catch of the season. The quick-strike score for the Seminoles was about the only time on the day that things came easy for FSU.

After each team traded a punt, Wake Forest put together an 80-yard drive that took 13 plays and just shy of five minutes to even the scoreboard, 7-7. The drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Wake Forest running back Christian Turner.

FSU would punt on their next drive and Wake Forest again worked methodically down the field, going 90 yards on 12 plays over 4:16 to take a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter. Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman connected with wide receiver A.T. Perry on a 4-yard touchdown reception.

The game began to go off the rails some for FSU on their next offensive snap. Quarterback Jordan Travis was tackled by Wake Forest safety Malik Mustapha, fumbled, and the loose ball was recovered by Demon Deacons linebacker Chase Jones. The Demon Deacons would take advantage of the short field, going 39 yards on five plays in 1:35 to put themselves comfortably ahead 21-7.

In the latter part of the first half, each team had a chance to put more points on the board. A 15-play, 54-yard drive by the Demon Deacons resulted in no points as their kicker, Matthew Dennis, missed a 44-yard field goal. His first miss of the season. FSU would drive 63 yards on 13 plays, but that drive was for nothing as Ryan Fitzgerald missed a 29-yard field goal attempt.

Wake Forest went into the locker room with a 21-7 lead.

It looked like more of the same in the second half as the Demon Deacons took the opening drive and went 75 yards on seven plays, with little to no resistance, and scored their fourth touchdown of the contest to go up 28-7. Running back Justice Ellison found the end zone from 12 yards out.

FSU though would finally show some resilience after digging themselves such a mighty deep hole.

FSU immediately responded to going down three scores with a 10-play, 85-yard touchdown drive capped by the second touchdown connection between Travis and Pittman on the day. FSU, no longer trusting their kicker, opted to go for the two-point conversion, which failed.

The defense would also find their footing forcing a pair of punts on consecutive possessions by the Demon Deacons.

Down 28-13, FSU went 58 yards on seven plays to close the gap to 28-21 with 9:32 remaining. This score came when Travis connected with wide receiver Johnny Wilson for a 4-yard touchdown pass. FSU would again attempt a two-point conversion, with Travis connecting with tight end Markeston Douglas to close the gap to 28-21.

Wake Forest would ice the victory though with an 18-play, 66-yard drive that took 6:37 off the clock, and resulted in FSU using their final three timeouts. That drive ended with a 27-yard field goal for the Demon Deacons putting them up 10, 31-21, with less than three minutes remaining.

FSU kicker Ryan Fitzgerald did attempt a 55-yard field goal with 1:13 remaining in the game. He missed, going 0-for-2 on both of his field goal attempts in the game.

Wake Forest kneeled the victory away as the crowd of nearly 70,000 departed.

The Seminoles are now 30-9-1 all-time against Wake Forest, including 20-4-1 in Tallahassee. Wake Forest has won three in a row in the series. The last time they won in Tallahassee was in 2008. FSU head coach Mike Norvell is 0-3 all-time against Wake Forest, including 0-2 in his time with the Seminoles.

FSU returns to action on Saturday, October 8th, when they travel to face NC State. Kickoff between the Seminoles and the Wolfpack will be at either 7:30 or 8 p.m. with ABC or the ACC Network broadcasting. Noles247.com will have more information on kickoff and television later on Saturday.