Off to its best start since 2015 — and ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll for the first time in more than four years — No. 23 Florida State will aim to keep its hot streak going Saturday when the Seminoles host No. 22 Wake Forest in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Seminoles (4-0, 2-0 ACC) are undefeated and ranked after thrashing Boston College 44-14 at home last Saturday. Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons (3-1, 0-1 ACC) are coming off their first defeat of the season, a 51-45 overtime loss to No. 5 Clemson.
Although FSU canceled classes Tuesday through Friday in preparing for possible effects of Hurricane Ian, the game remained on schedule for 3:30 p.m. EST at FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium.
Florida already has moved its game against Eastern Washington to Sunday, while USF moved its game against East Carolina across the state to Boca Raton. Tallahassee is farther north and west than those campuses, leading FSU athletic director Michael Alford to say Monday, “Nothing has changed right now,” while the school reminded fans to check social media for updates.
“Nobody knows exactly what is going to occur as the week goes on, but we are prepping for this game,” Norvell said. “We will have plans in place if anything does occur that needs to alter that.”
Said Clawson: “You certainly hope that the ACC will make the right decision. If they don’t, we will. … We want to play, but only if it’s safe and appropriate.”
Through four games, Florida State has been solid on both sides of the football, scoring 37.5 points per game, while allowing just 18.8 — both of which rank in the top 35 of FBS.
“The (FSU) team we’re watching on tape doesn’t look anything like the one we played last year,” Wake coach Dave Clawson said, alluding to the 35-14 victory over the Seminoles.
Especially key last week against Boston College was FSU’s play at quarterback, as fifth-year senior Jordan Travis threw for a career-best 321 yards while completing 16-of-26 passes. Travis only threw one touchdown, but he also didn’t throw an interception, and he set up FSU’s running backs for a pair of red zone scoring rushes.
“(Travis) did a great job. … it was impressive,” FSU coach Mike Norvell said. “To go in and play the way he did speaks volumes to the preparation that he’s putting in.”
A win over Wake Forest would go a long way in making the Seminoles bowl-eligible for the first time in Norvell’s three-year tenure. FSU hasn’t won a bowl game since 2017.
Wake Forest went toe-to-toe with Clemson last week at Winston-Salem, N.C., but couldn’t score in the second overtime, gaining just 4 yards on four plays in its final possession of the game.
Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman tossed a career-high six touchdown passes and the fifth-year quarterback now has 13 touchdown passes, tied for fifth-best in the nation.
Against FSU, Wake’s pass defense will have to be better. Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei torched the unit for 371 yards and a career-high five touchdowns through the air.
Wake Forest is 8-30 all-time against Florida State with one tie, but the Demon Deacons have won the past two meetings, both at Winston-Salem. FSU has won all five of the games at Tallahassee since 2008.
–Field Level Media