No. 22 Wake Forest had a balanced offense and its defense was just as good in a 31-21 win over No. 23 Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla., on Saturday afternoon.
A late field goal from Matthew Dennis sealed the win for the Demon Deacons, who are back in the race for the ACC’s Atlantic Division title. The defending division champions picked up a big road victory thanks to the play of quarterback Sam Hartman and the running game led by Christian Turner and Justice Ellison.
- For those wondering about a hangover after the Clemson loss, there wasn’t one. The Demon Deacons fell behind 7-0, but then scored on three straight possessions to take a 21-7 lead at halftime. The Seminoles did score on their first possession, but then the Demon Deacons’ defense buckled down. The Seminoles didn’t convert a third down until their sixth possession late in the half. When the Seminoles missed a late field-goal attempt in the first half the Demon Deacons had the edge.
- Part of the defense’s problem last week for the Demon Deacons was allowing Clemson to stay on the field. The Tigers converted so many third-down chances that they were able to score 51 points. Against the Seminoles, Brad Lambert’s defense did a much better job preventing that. In the first half, the Seminoles were just 2 of 6 on third-down conversions.
- Yes, Wake Forest does have a running game, and it was very effective on Saturday afternoon. Coming into the game ,the Demon Deacons were 104th in the country in rushing, but Justice Ellison was very good and had a career day. The offensive line is one of the most experienced in the country, and its ability to block for the running game is underrated. When the running game is working, Sam Hartman has many more options because he can spread the offense out.
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- QB Sam Hartman: 22 of 34 passing for 234 yards and two touchdowns
- WR A.T. Perry: 8 catches for 91 yards and one touchdown catch
- RB Justice Ellison: 18 carries for 114 yards and one touchdown
- WR Donavon Greene: 2 catches for 29 yards and one touchdown
- LB Ryan Smenda: 11 tackles
- Malik Mustapha: 7 tackles
- QB Travis Jordan: 23 of 35 for 281 yards and three touchdown passes
- RB Treshaun Ward: 13 carries for 87 yards
- WR Johnny Wilson: 6 catches for 85 yards and one touchdown
- DB Jammie Robinson: 13 tackles
What they’re saying
“We expected to win,” Coach Dave Clawson said. “I thought we played really good complementary football and we jumped out to a big lead and that last drive on the offense was just huge. They are within seven points and we convert the third downs and a fourth down and we got that field goal from Matthew Dennis.”
By the numbers
- When the Demon Deacons’ defense created a turnover in the first quarter, it was the 34th time in the last 36 games that they had a turnover. In last week’s 51-45 double overtime loss to fifth-ranked Clemson, the defense did not create a turnover …
- The Demon Deacons dominated the time of possession in the first half and ran 50 plays as they scored on three of six possessions. Matthew Dennis missed from 44 yards out on a field-goal attempt in the second quarter. That was Dennis’ first miss of the season …
- Before Saturday’s games the Atlantic Division of the ACC had four of the 21 teams in the country who were still undefeated in the FBS level of Division I …
- For just the second time in history, the Seminoles and Demon Deacons played each other when both were ranked in the top 25. The only other time that happened was in 2006 when No. 18 Wake Forest beat No. 24 Florida State 12-3 …
- Wake Forest’s stint in the Associated Press poll going back to last season has now reached 17 straight weeks, which is a school record …
- Sam Hartman ranks sixth in ACC history with 87 touchdown passes in his career. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence each had 90 and are tied for fifth.
Wake Forest (4-1,1-1) will play at Truist Field on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (Bally Sports South) against Army in its final nonconference game of the season.
Florida State (4-1, 2-1) will play at N.C. State on Saturday.