FSU/Wake Forest Preview
"Those people don't have to play them every year," Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said. "They always give us fits."
It's true that FSU defenders have had a recent history of struggling against the Deacons' unconventional attack. On average, it has taken the Seminoles at least a quarter to adapt to Wake's cut-blocking habits their running game that thrives on confusion.
Surprisingly, Wake Forest led until the closing seconds of the first quarter a season ago before FSU awoke and routed them 48-24 to give Bobby Bowden his Division I record 339th career victory.
A shell-shocked and disoriented Seminoles team fell behind 14-0 and trailed at the half in their last trip in Winston-Salem in 2002. FSU rebounded behind first-time starter Adrian McPherson for a 34-21 win.
The Deacons (3-3) have not beaten the Seminoles (5-1) since a 9-7 win in 1973. Since Florida State joined the ACC, Wake has been knocked around by an average margin of 45-12 in those twelve contests.
Though the past few FSU defenses have struggled to an extent when lining up against Wake, Saturday's meeting should be more along traditional lines. The Seminoles, are ranked sixth in the nation and boast the NCAA's No.1 rushing defense.
"You can't take anything away from them," nickleback Antonio Cromartie said. "They run a lot of misdirections and a lot of stuff you have to keep your eye on. We just have to play disciplined and just play smart out there."
Andrews said success against the Demon Deacons will have to be a combined effort of all eleven players on the field. The strategy is simple:
"Gap control," he said. "They are well coached and they execute and you combat that with discipline and with people filling their gaps.
"We talked about it last week - we didn't want solo tackles. We wanted gang tackles. We wanted a bunch of people at the football. With Wake Forest, you've got go be very disciplined."
Wake Forest is a few plays away from an undefeated season. The Deacons have lost overtime games to N.C. State and Clemson. In a 17-10 loss to Virginia Tech Oct. 9, Wake advance the ball to the Hokies' 5 on their final drive before failing to convert on fourth down. They had a bye week to prepare for the Seminoles.
"It's a crazy thing because it's hard to take these close losses, but on the flip side we're not getting blown out," Wake coach Jim Grobe said. "We're losing but I cannot fault anything they did effort wise."
Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. and the game can be seen on ABC.
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