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Wake Forest (2-1) at Florida State (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 25th, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Doak Campbell Stadium (82,300) -- Tallahassee, Florida. Television: ABC. Home Record: WF 2-0, FSU 2-0. Away Record: WF 0-1, FSU 0-1. Neutral Record: WF 0-0, FSU 0-0. Conference Record: WF 1-0, FSU 0-0. Series Record: Florida State leads, 22-5-1.
GAME NOTES: The Florida State Seminoles get their ACC slate underway this weekend, as they take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles enter the weekend on a high note, as they tallied a 34-10 victory over BYU last Saturday to improve to 2-0 at home. It was a nice rebound for FSU, which was knocked from the Top 25 following a 47-17 blasting at the hands of nationally-ranked Oklahoma. The Seminoles now turn their attention to the ACC, where they are considered legitimate contenders for the title.
The Demon Deacons meanwhile, are coming off their first road game and loss of the campaign, a disastrous 68-24 setback at nationally-ranked Stanford last Saturday. It was the most points surrendered by Wake since losing 72-13 to FSU in 1995. The Deacons had won their two prior games, including a 54-48 shootout over Duke in their league opener on September 11th.
As for the all-time series, FSU holds a commanding 22-5-1 lead over Wake and that takes into account a 41-28 decision in last season's meeting. The Deacons however, have won the last two encounters in Tallahassee, posting a 30-0 victory in 2006 and a 12-3 triumph in 2008.
Wake's offense is off to a good start, as the unit is averaging 43.7 ppg on the strength of 283.7 rushing ypg. A variety of players have gotten involved to help the ground attack, including rookie QBs Ted Stachitas and Tanner Price Stachitas started the first two games and leads the team with 145 rushing yards, while Price started the last game and ranks third on the club with 138 yards. In the start versus Stanford last weekend, Price rushed for 65 yards and a score, but was just 8-of-18 through the air for 71 yards and a pick. Price has thrown for three TDs this season, so he does have the ability to move the ball through the year. Don't expect a whole bunch of passes, however, as WF's focus is on its option attack.
Defensively, the Demon Deacons have been simply shredded up to this point, surrendering 43.0 ppg and 461.3 total ypg. The unit was especially bad last weekend, when it allowed 535 total yards, including 303 rushing, in a loss to Stanford. WF gave up 10 total TDs in that game, and the team has yielded 116 points in two games against FBS opponents this season. Kyle Wilber and Alex Frye have been the two bright spots for the defense thus far, as Wilber leads the team with eight TFLs and three sacks, while Frye is tops with three INTs.
Coming off the worst performance of his career in a loss to Oklahoma, QB Christian Ponder responded by throwing for 149 yards and a score in a winning effort over BYU last weekend. Ponder completed 14-of-21 pass attempts and added 50 yards and a score on the ground. It was the type of performance that is expected of Ponder, who is considered one of the top QBs in the ACC. While Ponder had a nice game, it was the ground attack that really got the job done, gaining 278 yards behind a 6.3 yard per carry average. FSU is averaging 195.3 rushing ypg and 5.7 yards per carry for the season, so that effort wasn't too surprising. Chris Thompson led the charge versus BYU with a career-high 123 yards, including an 83-yard TD run, while Ty Jones added 95 rushing yards and a score.
After being shredded by Oklahoma, FSU's defense came to play last weekend and held BYU to a mere 191 yards of total offense. The unit gave up just 115 of those yards through the air, while recording two takeaways and eight sacks. It was clearly a dominant effort from a defense that now has 13 sacks on the season. Brandon Jenkins had two sacks and a forced fumble in the winning effort, and he now has 2.5 sacks and 3.5 TFLs for the season.
The Seminoles are clearly the better defensive team and they should be able to slow down WF's ground attack enough for the victory this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida State 35, Wake Forest 20
09/22 10:33:24 ET