Coming off an emotional loss in Miami (that pass is STILL backward) and a disrupted week, you’d be tempted to think that FSU might have some issues against a Wake Forest team that plays fast. And for the first half of a quarter, you’d have been right. But after digging themselves an early 10-0 hole, the ‘Noles rattled off 38 unanswered points to coast to an easy 38-17 win over Wake Forest on Homecoming weekend.
Quarterback Deondre Francois shook off some early rust and finished 29-40 passing for 353 yards and 2 scores, but it was the running game that kept the offense in good situations. The two-headed monster of Akers and Patrick ran 14 times for 107 yards on 1st down – good for 7.6 yards per play on that down alone. Overall, FSU averaged 6.9 yards/play. Wake did their best to tire out the Seminole defense, running 104 plays (a school record for FSU’s defense). The defense stood strong, though, only allowing 3.5 yards/play.
Some things that stood out to me:
- We did not start fast, and looked very lost on Wake’s 2 scoring drives in the first quarter. This will be deadly next week. We did, however, make great adjustments on defense. Taggart talked about this, saying that while he was not surprised about the pace, he suggested to Coach Barnett to limit the substitutions on defense.
- The defensive line played a solid game, especially for being down a man in Fred Jones. Their hands were constantly in passing lanes. As the game wore on, the line became progressively more dominant, starting with Brian Burns. Coach Taggart noted that “It all started with Burns’ play (4th down sack). It kind of woke us up.”
- The offensive line wasn’t awful. I mean, it’s not good. But it wasn’t awful. Wake tried several times to bring pressure on Francois, and the blitz was either picked up, or Deondre got rid of the ball. The line allowed zero sacks and only 6 TFL. They were also able to get a push up front and get the running game going.
- Piggybacking off the last point, Deondre looked more in control of this game than any other game this season. His throws were quick and decisive. He saw blitzes and got rid of the ball. He has been part of the problem with pass protection all year, but tonight, he was more of the signal-caller that Taggart needs.
- Cam got his. The 58-yard touchdown run was the first explosive running touchdown of the season. He was patient to, and quick through, the hole. This was the Cam Akers we know and love. Coach was pleased with it, saying, “It’s vital to what we want to accomplish offensively. It’s what we want to our identity to be. It’s getting there, but we’re not a close as we’d like to be. We’re climbing, though.”
- Tre’Shaun Harrison is a bad man. On the touchdown throw from Deondre, he adjusted to what was a poor throw, then got around two Deacon defenders on his way to the end zone. In Taggart’s words, “He hit the spin button and then the L1 button.”
- FSU finished. We’d noted before that we had some growing up to do after the Miami game – growth that would lead to us finishing instead of breaking. We did just that. Coach saw it too, saying that the team was in a similar position as they were against Miami, but finished this time.
- One last thing – count me as being picky, but Keith Gavin has got to transfer the ball to his sideline arm, even if you’re that “gone.” Even though it ended up working out, it’s the details that lead to championships.
Looking at the numbers:
- Our defense has quality depth and they are definitely in shape. Wake forest ran over 100+ offensive plays.
- The defensive matched the performance from the Miami game, and forced 5 sacks again! Led by Brian Burns (2) and Joshua Kaindoh (2)
- Stanford Samuels III had 8 tackles, with a huge interception in the first half of the game.
- Cam Akers averaged 7.5 yards per carry. This included the 58 yard touchdown, but it feels good to see his average finally boosted up.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) October 20, 2018
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