Oh My

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Thanks to another lock-down defensive performance and an unexpected scoring drive in the game's closing minutes, Florida State edged Wake Forest 20-17 in their second consecutive escape on the road. And, believe it or not, the Seminoles sealed the game with a clutch field goal.

Florida State's Xavier Beitia nailed a 22-yard chip shot from the right hash mark gave FSU the three-point advantage with 1:03 play.

The kick was a shade longer than an extra point but coach Bobby Bowden knew better than to take anything for granted.

"I didn't look," he said.

"I snuck a peak on that Jumbotron though."

All this after the Seminoles had planned to punt. Persuaded by a Wyatt Sexton interception that set up the game-tying field goal for Wake, the Seminoles called a draw for backup tailback Lorenzo Booker on third-and-ten from the Deacs 18.

As it turned out, playing to their defense produced the biggest play of the game. Booker broke free for a 46-yard gain to prolong the game-winning drive.

"(That drive) showed the depth and the heart that we have on this team," said Booker, who combined with Leon Washington to tally 148 yards on the ground.

"We have guys that are going to step up to make plays to keep these drives going."

Seldom-used receiver Dominic Robinson was the other unlikely offensive hero that rose to the occasion. Robinson, who put the Seminoles ahead for the first time with a 46-yard touchdown grab with 9:59 to play, hauled in a 14-yard pass on third down just four plays after Booker's heroics.

Robinson, known for his 4th-and-14 catch at Florida last season, had just four catches coming into the game and was subbing for an injured Chauncey Stovall. His touchdown blow Saturday ended three quarters of frustration for the FSU offense that produced 14 points for the opposing team via turnovers in the first half.

"Eventually we were going to take over the game," defensive tackle Travis Johnson.

"But it took a little longer than we thought. A few snaps changed the momentum." Willie Reid almost single handedly produced Florida State's other touchdown score. After he returned a Ryan Plackemeier punt 48 yards to the Wake 14, Reid snared a 20-yard touchdown on a corner route two plays later.

Reid finished the game with 118 all-purpose yards, 68 of which came on punt returns. Robinson paced FSU with 81 yards on four catches.

The Deacons (3-4) took a 14-3 advantage in to the half thanks to a pair of electrifying plays from its blitz-happy defense. The Wake pressure forced Sexton into making an ill-advised throw into the flats what was picked off and returned untouched by defensive end Matt Robinson for a 19-yard score. In the second, Brad White scooped up a Sexton fumble and scampered to a 36-yard touchdown.

"Their defensive calls led to a lot of confusion for us," FSU center David Castillo said.

"The way we played (in the first half) was an indication of how good their pressure was."

Wake managed to eek out just three points offensively and that was courtesy of Sexton's third turnover of the day, a tipped pass at the line and intercepted by Jeremy Thompson deep in Seminole territory. After Jason Anderson dropped a pass from Cory Randolph near the goal line on third down, Plackmeier booted the game-tying 31-yarder.

Florida State's win keeps alive an outside chance at an Atlantic Coast Conference title and possible BCS bid. The Seminoles (6-1) take their road show to Maryland next weekend.

"It's getting tougher and tougher to play away from home," said Bowden, also pointing to Florida's plight at Mississippi State earlier in the day. "Nowadays you can get it on any Saturday."

A season remains on track thanks to another close call.

"It was frustrating to play that kind of game," said FSU linebacker and Winston-Salem native A.J. Nicholson. "But it builds character for us to play close games like this."


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