Florida State Football: 10 Things You Should Know About Wake Forest
After using last weekend’s bye week to wipe the images of consecutive heartbreaking losses from their memories, the Florida State Seminoles will return to action this weekend when they hit the road to take on Wake Forest.
The match up with the Demon Deacons will be pivotal to get the Seminoles season back on track.
The loss two weeks ago to Clemson puts Jimbo Fisher’s troops behind the eight ball in the Atlantic Division, and with Wake Forest being a division opponent, that makes this game a must-win for Florida State to keep pace with the Tigers.
Here are 10 things you should know about Wake Forest.
10. Atlantic Division Pole Sitters
With wins over N.C. State and Boston College already on their resume this season, the Demon Deacons are in position to take a huge leap towards the ACC title game with a win over the Seminoles on Saturday. They could make some history in the process.
For just the sixth time in school history, Wake Forest has started 2-0 in conference play.
However, in 58 years of playing in the ACC, they have never opened with wins in their first three league contests.
9. The Price Is Right
Last season, Wake Forest’s Tanner Price went through the typical growing pains that a freshman starting quarterback endures.
In nine starts, he completed just fewer than 57 percent of his passes while throwing eight interceptions and only seven touchdowns.
This year, he’s done remarkably better.
He has thrown for over 250 yards in all four contests this season, raising his completion percentage by six and throwing seven touchdown passes against only two interceptions.
However, his toughest test will come this weekend against a stout Seminoles defense.
8. Biggest OL in School History
Florida State will bring a skilled, athletic and talented defensive line into BB&T Stadium this weekend.
Typically, the Demon Deacons would be overmatched against a team bringing in a vaunted front four with size and speed.
This year’s Wake Forest team will not be intimidated, at least from a size standpoint.
Their starting five offensive linemen weigh a collective 1,570 pounds, which makes this unit the largest line in school history with each member tipping the scales at over 300 pounds.
7. Rush Defense
The Seminoles Achilles heel this season has been their inability to establish any semblance of a ground game.
The Demon Deacons stingy rush defense will attempt to make sure that the Seminoles stay airborne.
Through four games, Wake Forest is only allowing 100 yards rushing per game.
Although Boston College’s Montel Harris had a strong performance last weekend (108 rushing yards and a touchdown), the Demon Deacons have only allowed three touchdowns on the ground this season.
6. Strength vs. Strength
When head coach Jim Grobe had his most successful stretch in Winston-Salem, the Demon Deacons were known for their rushing attack spearheaded by misdirection plays.
This year, Wake has done most of their damage through the air averaging over 300 passing yards per game, which is second in the ACC trailing only their opponents on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Florida State will counter with the ACC’s top pass defense, which is giving up just under 175 yards through the air per game.
Expect the winner of this battle to ultimately win the game.
5. Quick Starters
With Wake Forest being an underdog at home against a ranked opponent, it is important for them to get off to a good start.
Based on their first four games, that should not be a problem.
The Demon Deacons have outscored their opponents 125-48 in the first three quarters of games this season, particularly in the first quarter where the margin is 30-8.
4. 4th Quarter Troubles
As prolific as Wake Forest has been in the first three quarters, their struggles in the final period have been disturbing.
The Demon Deacons have been outscored 39-13 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
They opened the season blowing a 15-point fourth quarter lead at Syracuse and would go on to lose 36-29 in overtime.
Against N.C. State and Boston College, they allowed big deficits to be cut to single digits in the waning moments before holding on to secure the victories.
3. Magic Number
For Wake Forest to pull the upset this weekend, the number 24 will be important to them.
Under Jim Grobe, the Demon Deacons are 54-20 when scoring 24 or more points (since 2006, their record is 31-7 when hitting that number).
Perhaps more telling for Wake is when they don’t put up at least 24 points, where their record dips to 11-41.
2. Chris Givens
Florida State has felt the wrath of game-breaking wide receivers in their last two games, as Kenny Stills of Oklahoma and Sammy Watkins of Clemson both made backbreaking touchdown catches against them late in those contests.
This week, the Seminoles secondary will have their hands full with Wake Forest senior Chris Givens.
The ACC’s leading receiver in yards per game (124.5), Givens has caught 27 passes for 498 yards and found the end zone four times this season.
For the Demon-Deacons to pull off the upset, Givens is going to have to be the best player on the field.
1. Florida Products
Like many programs around the country, Wake Forest heavily recruits the state of Florida looking for top-notch talent.
One look at the Demon Deacons roster will show that they are more successful than most non-Florida schools that target the Sunshine State.
Wake Forest has 30 Floridians on its roster, which is the third most for a school outside the state.
Half of their Florida products show up on the two-deep, meaning that there will be several of them who will be looking to have a big game against one of the teams they grew up cheering for.