"Week in and week out, no matter what our record is, nobody believes we're going to win," Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner said. "We have to prove ourselves."
The resurgent Demon Deacons (5-1, Atlantic Coast Conference) improved to 9-1 for the first time in school history with their first win over Florida State in 33 years. Wake Forest last won in Tallahassee in 1959.
"Who would've thought our ninth win would come down here," safety Josh Gattis said. "The win means we're in the driver's seat."
Wake Forest can earn a spot in next month's conference championship game with wins over Virginia Tech and Maryland in its final two games. Florida State needs a win over either Western Michigan or Florida to be bowl eligible.
The Demon Deacons had won their four previous league games by a total of 17 points.
"These guys have been through a lot and I'm happy they're winning some games," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. "I thought we'd be in a nail-biter. That was nice."
The struggling Seminoles (5-5, 3-5), meanwhile, hit a new low. Florida State hadn't been shut out in 232 games, dating back to the 1988 opener at Miami. It was also Florida State's worst loss at home since a 58-14 loss to Southern Mississippi in 1981, the last year they didn't go to a bowl.
"It was a complete team breakdown," the 77-year-old Bowden said afterward. "Just inept."
Wake Forest was magnificent, playing a turnover-free game while scoring 17 points off three of the four Seminoles' turnovers.
"A lot of people may not think Wake Forest's for real, but they proved it tonight," Florida State cornerback Tony Carter said.
Things started poorly for the Seminoles and then got worse.
The Demon Deacons picked off Florida State's Xavier Lee on successive passes deep in Seminoles territory early in the second quarter and the turnovers led to 10 points.
Riley Skinner hit John Tereshinski on an 18-yard touchdown pass on the first play after Stanley Arnoux's interception for a 13-0 lead with 9:12 left in the half.
Wake Forest had a 6-0 lead on a pair of Sam Swank field goals, the second set up by Alphonso Smith's interception that gave them the ball at Florida State's 9.
Swank nailed his third field goal from 51 yards - his fifth of the season from 50 or more - to give Wake Forest a 23-0 lead with 3:31 left in the third quarter.
Wake dominated the opening half, rolling up 211 yards to just 77 for Florida State, which switched quarterbacks after Lee's second interception.
Drew Weatherford, who replaced Lee, was 4 of 15 for just 52 yards and two interceptions. Lee finished 5 of 13 for 61 yards. Both were picked twice and the inept Florida State offense produced just 139 yards on 51 plays.
"It's the worst football game I've ever been a part of," Weatherford said. "I don't think anyone thought we could play this bad."
"We just weren't ready for them," said Lee, who did get back into the game in the fourth quarter after Weatherford also struggled.
When Patterson grabbed a tipped pass thrown by Weatherford and raced down the left sideline to give the Demon Deacons a 30-0 lead in the final minute of the third quarter much of a disgruntled home crowd of 77,785 bolted as well.
"Both quarterbacks were terrible," Bowden said.
Florida State players wore the #95 on their helmets Saturday night in memory of Miami defensive end Bryan Pata, who was shot to death earlier this week. His brother, Edwin Pierre-Pata, is a senior walk-on at Florida State.