The answer as to whether Florida State had finally turned it around after two horrible seasons and two blowout wins is a resounding no.
Even though the Seminoles’ first two wins came against FCS opponents, they displayed something that hadn’t been seen in previous seasons, even against lesser teams. Florida State’s offense had been crisp and explosive, and the defense was full of swagger in routs of Western Carolina and Chattanooga.
All the high hopes came crashing down for 'Noles fans after Saturday’s 12-3 loss to No. 18 Wake Forest.
FSU quarterback Christian Ponder’s first pass was intercepted, a sign of things to come for an offense that looked undisciplined and inept.
The numbers in this game don’t lie when it comes to telling how much more work Bobby Bowden and his staff have to do in rebuilding this football team.
The Seminoles had a paltry 220 yards of offense and had as many first downs (12) as penalties. Florida State also amassed 139 penalty yards to go along with seven turnovers.
While some credit goes to Wake Forest, the Seminoles were their own worst enemy. A sloppy and inconsistent offense was plagued by holding and illegal block calls that seemed to wipe out any moderately big plays.
Then there were the turnovers. Ponder’s two picks were his first and last throws of the game and in between saw backup D’Vontrey Richardson throw interceptions on consecutive throws.
While Deacons’ kicker Sam Swank, who rarely misses, missed three field goals to give the Seminoles hope, the subsequent drives were killed by the aforementioned penalties and turnovers.
Richardson’s turnovers were most costly in killing drives following Swank misses. The sophomore, who is the better runner of the two young QBs, came in to start the second half but couldn’t move the Seminoles’ offense.
Now three games into the season, it seems as Florida State is garnet and fool’s gold. Once again, the team and its supporters are facing familiar questions and concerns.
With offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher as the heir apparent and with his handpicked coaches and players running his scheme, the blame seems to be his for now.
Fisher tabbed Ponder as his QB, moving the redshirt sophomore from third to first team. Ponder seemed on his way to stardom in leading an offense that outscored its first two opponents 115-7. However, against Wake Forest, neither had an answer for the Deacons’ defense or their own inconsistencies. Fisher’s answer came in the second half by inserting Richardson.
It seems like the “same old, same old” to blame FSU’s offensive coordinator for their inadequacies, but now that this team is once again going back to square one, who else is there?
Not only do the Seminoles have to fix their undisciplined play and find a way to run the football and block effectively—they now have yet another quarterback controversy to deal with.
With games at Miami, NC State, Georgia Tech, and Maryland and home dates against Clemson and Florida, it will be hard to find wins this season. More importantly, going forward, the Seminoles will have to get their young team together both emotionally and personnel-wise.
Even though it was another in a long line of painful losses for the FSU, this one seemed to sting the young team. A week that had the team and fans thinking it had finally returned ended with them both saying, "Is this happening again?"