Grading the 'Noles following their 26-19 victory over Wake Forest

By: Kevin Keane | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
October 3, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida State has their first victory of the season under their belt after narrowly escaping the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday in Winston-Salem.

With Miami on the horizon, lets take a look back and see how each unit did in last week's victory before we completely shift our focus to the Hurricanes.

Offense: B-

Despite inadequacies in the passing game, FSU was able to run the ball (finally) in Saturday’s win over Wake Forest. Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick carried the load a combined 33 times to the tune of 178 yards and a touchdown.

Although the pass game left much to be desired, James Blackman made the biggest plays of the game, delivering a 43-yard strike to Keith Gavin in the fourth quarter, leading to a field goal that would tie the game and later the 40-yard touchdown strike to Auden Tate.

The downside to this - FSU’s offensive line gave up five sacks, and allowed Wake Forest’s defense 17 tackles for loss. That needs to be cleaned up and fast.

Lastly, we might as well put Nyqwan Murray on the back of a milk carton right now, because he’s been missing in this FSU offense all season long, including last Saturday.

Defense: C

I’m still waiting for the Noles defense to put it all together. Unfortunately, the bevy of talent on that side of the ball was overshadowed, yet again, by the amount of big-chunk plays they gave up to the Demon Deacons.

17 first downs, 367 yards of offense; it’s not acceptable and shouldn’t be acceptable to Jimbo Fisher and DC Charles Kelly.

This year, and again on Saturday, the unit’s saving grace was their ability to bend and not break. When they absolutely needed a stop, they got it. When you thought Wake Forest was about to drive the length of the field for a touchdown, FSU held them to field goals, especially in the first half. A fumble recovery and interception (first forced turnovers this season) also helped save FSU from a “D” grade this week.

Still, this is not the defense you’re going to have the confidence in to make those stops when the Noles face more high-powered offenses like Miami and Clemson. Schematically, adjustments need to be made.

Special Teams: A+

To be honest, this was where Florida State impressed me the most on Saturday. Following some struggles by Ricky Aguayo in the first two games, the dude nailed all four of his field goals against Wake, including a 51-yarder in the first quarter to give the Noles a 3-0 lead.
Punter Logan Tyler pinned the Deacs back with some nice punts and Keith Gavin had himself an 81-yard kick return in the first half that set up the Noles’ first touchdown of the game.

Overall: C-

Another lackluster game for FSU’s defense combined with offensive line issues and an inexperienced quarterback led to my grade this week.

This team has the talent to beat Wake Forest by 20, but unfortunately, lack of execution and consistency plagued the Seminoles once again on Saturday. The bright side is they still were able to come away with a win.

Florida State will have their work cut out for them on both sides of the ball entering Miami Week. The Canes roll into Tallahassee undefeated and ranked 13th in the nation.

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