Lots of Bend, No Break

The Florida State defense had just surrendered the longest gain of the season, a 67-yard touchdown run by Wake Forest flanker Kevin Marion.

At the urging of linebacker A.J. Nicholson, no one panicked.

"We were calm and collected," Nicholson said. "We got together. We identified the problem and corrected it. We played the rest of the game."

When all was said and done, the Seminoles had surrendered 415 yards and seven gains of 13 yards or more to a Wake Forest team equipped with an arsenal of gadgets and changeups.

The Demon Deacons' ground game accounted for 247 yards of that total against a unit that entered the contest as the sixth-best rushing defense in the nation.

"We broke down a couple of times out there," Nicholson said. "But we ended up with more plays than breakdowns and that's the important thing."

Wake hit the perimeter first, using a variety of option looks and orbital fakes to reversing receivers to confuse the Seminoles.

Quarterback Cory Randolph caught FSU off guard Marion's touchdown when he actually handed the ball off to his reversing receiver after half a dozen defenders bit on a fake to the fullback. Marion shook unsuspecting J.R. Bryant and outran Anthony Kelly to pay dirt.

In the second half, things opened between the tackles for Chris Barclay, who finished with a game-high 125 yards on 21 carries.

"We always have confidence but to have the success that we did on the ground today was a little surprising," Barclay said. "The line provided a lot of holes and seams. We did a good job of keeping them guessing."

Prior to Saturday, the longest gain that FSU had given up on the ground was 21 yards.

"We knew they weren't going to line it up and try to run it down our throats," linebacker Ernie Sims said. "They did a lot of misdirection and kept us guessing. We need to go back on work on fundamentals like tackling, getting into your gap and doing you job."

Wake's performance also gave the Seminoles another chance to test their resolve.

"We willed this win," Nicholson said. "Our team is mature enough to recognize when a critical point comes up and we'll always make a play. We know when it's time to step up and make a play and that's what we did today."


Nole Digest Top Stories