WFU Loses 20-17 Heartbreaker To No. 5 Seminoles

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Xavier Beitia kicked a 22-yard field goal with 1:03 to play to help No. 5 Florida State pull off a surprisingly close 20-17 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.

Seminoles quarterback Wyatt Sexton had a tough day, committing three turnovers that nearly cost Florida State (6-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) the game.

He helped Wake Forest build a 14-3 lead before halftime with an interception and a fumble, and both turnovers were returned for touchdowns.

After pushing the Seminoles ahead with touchdown passes of 20- and 46-yards, Sexton gave Wake Forest another chance late in the fourth quarter when he foolishly attempted a pass that was tipped by Jerome Nichols and intercepted by freshman Jeremy Thompson.

That set up Ryan Plackemeir's 41-yard field goal that tied the game at 17 with 4:32 to play.

Florida State then needed a 46-yard run by Lorenzo Booker on third-and-10 and a 14-yard pass from Sexton to Dominic Robinson on third-and-6 to set up the game-winning field goal.

Wake Forest (3-4, 0-4) dropped another close one to remain winless in conference play. The Demon Deacons have not been easy opponent, though, taking Clemson and North Carolina State into overtime and battling down to the wire against Virginia Tech and the Seminoles.

Despite the miscues, Sexton improved to 4-0 as a starter since taking over for Chris Rix. He finished 17-for-39 for 194 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumble.

It was clear early Sexton wasn't going to have the same kind of day he did last week when he completed 20 of 26 passes for a career-high 275 yards in the Seminoles' dismantling of Virginia.

He got off to a bad start when he was called for intentional grounding on the third play of the game, and it just got worse from there. Nichols had the first of his two tipped passes late in the first quarter and Matt Robinson intercepted it, returning it 19 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Wake Forest lead.

Sexton later fumbled on a sack by Eric King, and Brad White scooped the ball up and rumbled 36 yards for a touchdown that put Wake Forest up 14-3 right before halftime.

But Wyatt got some third-quarter help from Willie Reid, who returned a punt 48 yards to the Wake Forest 14. After Booker lost yards on a fumble, the Seminoles went to Reid to put points on the board with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Sexton that cut Wake Forest's lead to 14-10.

Sexton wasn't able to give Florida State's its first lead of the game until the fourth quarter, when he threw a 46 yard touchdown pass to Robinson to put the Seminoles up 17-14 with 9:59 to go.

Wake Forest, averaging 221.7 yards rushing a game, struggled against the nation's best run defense.

Florida State held the Deacons to 133 yards on the ground.

Beitia also made a 44-yarders, but had a blocked field goal in the first quarter when Thompson, making his first career start, got a hand on the 38-yard attempt.

Plackemeier also missed a 39-yarder.

Wake Forest's Jason Anderson had six catches for 99 yards to become the only active player in the ACC to go over 2,000 yards receiving.


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