Seminoles Face First Real Test of the Season

 

“I’m looking forward to it – looking forward to a challenge and it’s our first ACC opener and it’s a divisional game, so it’s a double whammy,” said FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher. “We need to be dotting I’s and crossing T’s and be ready to play. 

 

By Marcus Joseph

 

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (FRANCHISESPORTSONLINE.NET) – The No. 5 Florida State Seminoles have made their presents known this season by defeating to non-conference teams early in season.

The Seminoles will now be faced with their first challenge of the season Wake Forest, in the teams first of two consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference games. Wake Forest (2-0) sits at (1-0) in ACC play after defeating North Carolina, 28-27, in a cross-divisional game last weekend.

Last weekend, Florida State scored eight touchdowns on nine drives, racked up 413 yards of total offense, averaged 9.4 yards per play and held Savannah State to just 28 yards of total offense as the game was ruled over with 8:59 still to play in the third quarter due to severe weather delays.

“I’m very happy about our performance this weekend,” said Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, in his opening statement Monday at his weekly press conference. “We did what we were supposed to do – we executed very well and challenged our team to practice well and prepare well and they did that. They came out in all three phases and played the kind of game that we could. I was very happy with that. I wish we could have got some more guys work later in the game. We were planning to get some of those young guys in more, but under the circumstances with the weather and the situations that occurred…but overall I was happy with our performance.”

FSU moved into a tie with Oklahoma for No. 5 in the latest Associated Press poll while staying put at No.6 in the USA Today Coaches poll.

The Demon Deacons have won two of the last three meeting in Tallahassee. Florida State leads the all-time series with a 23-6-1 mark, which includes a 16-3-1 home record against Wake Forest.

The Noles tied, 14-14, with Wake Forest in their first ever meeting back on Oct. 20, 1956 at home.

But, most recently and still on the minds of the Seminoles are their last match with Wake Forest last year. The Noles lost to Wake Forest on the road, 30-35, on Oct. 8, 2011.

“I hope that we can prepare well for a better Wake team this week,” Coach Fisher said. “Wake is playing very well, they had a great win against North Carolina – played typical Wake football, did the things they needed to do and they’re a very good football team and we’ll definitely have our hands full and we’ll have to play a great game this week in order to compete and do what we need to do for our team.”

Wake Forest is currently (2-0) in the season, having defeated Liberty (20-17) and North Carolina (28-27). In their ACC opener against North Carolina, Wake Forest did most of the damage through the air with a career-best 327 yards passing by Tanner Price.

In Wake Forest’s last trip to Tallahassee in 2010, quarterback Tanner Price split time on the field with former Demon Deacon Ted Stachitas. Price finished with 6 of 12 passing for 35 yards and one interception in a 31-0 loss to the Seminoles.

“He was just a young freshman,” said Coach Fisher. “They had trouble protecting him that time. This guy here now is the real deal. He can make plays. He’s accurate –  knows where he’s going with the ball, good arm, keep plays alive with his feet, very instinctive and he’s a really good player now. I like him.”

Demon Deacon QB will probably be targeting his go to wideout Micheal Campanro, who has been his clutch target thus far this season. The Clarksville, MD., native registered 10 catches against Liberty in the season opener, then backed up performance with a career-high 13 receptions for 164 yards against UNC.

On defense, redshirt junior nose guard Nikita Whitlock was the only Demon Deacoon named to the preseason All-ACC Football Team, and is also a Lombardi Award watch list member. He will be a huge player that the young Seminole line will have to deal with come Saturday.

As good as the Seminoles played in their first two games and last year, the Seminoles will be tested in their upcoming ACC games.

“They’ve got good players and they’re coached well.” said coach Fisher. “The first year I was here, they had about five guys drafted off the defense which was an excellent defense. Some of them were the best players we faced all year. They’ve always had a very good football team.”

“They’re an experienced football team, a lot of them are redshirt juniors and seniors in the mix,” he also said. “I think people overlook that. They’ve caught the Butler (men’s basketball) syndrome – you get older guys that know how to play together and very well and they understand the system. They’ve been there and understand how to win and play hard. When you get older you get smarter and tougher. That’s how they play.”

The Seminoles will take the field Saturday Sept. 15 at 12 p.m. at the Doak Campbell Stadium on the Bobby Bowden Field for an ESPN/ESPN3D game coverage.

 

 

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