Game #4 Preview: #11 Florida State Seminoles Vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons


Game #4: #11 Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC) Vs. Wake Forest (2-2, 1-1 ACC)

Where to Watch: 3:30 PM, ESPN

Last Week:

  • FSU: Bye
  • Wake: Loss, 31-24 against Indiana

The Setup:

The bye week seemed to come at the right time for Florida State, as the Seminoles fought hard to fend off a pesky Boston College team just two Fridays ago. The Eagles came out in that game and hit Florida State in the mouth with an elite defense that never seemed to allow the Seminoles to get going offensively. Ultimately, a game changing fumble return for a touchdown by All-American defensive back, Jalen Ramsey, helped the ‘Noles pull away late and escape Chesnut Hill with their perfect record intact, and their conference season off on the right foot. Now, two weeks later, the Seminoles are heading into a Saturday date with the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest. Entering the game well-rested and a 20-plus point favorite could be plenty of reason for this Florida State team to rest on their laurels, especially when you consider how much of a talent gap there is between these two ACC foes, so let’s take a look at how this game breaks down with this full preview.

The Match-Up:

First thing’s first for the ‘Noles if they want to get this game over with early, they must get solid production out of Dalvin Cook. Cook, who was spectacular in the season’s first two games, was held to just 54 yards on 15 carries in the narrow 14-0 victory over Boston College. Now, after some much needed rest, Cook will need to play like his old self, as Mario Pender, the guy who usually spells him, is out for an extended period of time after undergoing surgery this week for a collapsed lung. In the event Cook needs a break, and don’t expect him to rest much in this game, true freshman Jacques Patrick could see some carries to help out in the backfield.

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Regardless of who runs the football for the Seminoles, one thing is for certain, and that is the fact that Everett Golson is going to have the throw the ball more down the field to help stretch the defense. Golson, whether it’s been by design or not, has seemingly stuck to short and intermediate throws in the passing game, which is an aspect of the offense that is going to have to change if the ‘Noles want to have an offense that’s capable of propelling the team to another conference championship. With a solid kicking game, and improving defense week-by-week, and one of the best running games in college football, the proficiency of the passing game is all that remains from distinguishing the Seminoles as one of the most complete teams in the nation.

FSU Impact Performers
Oct 30, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) catches a pass and runs for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John /

Yes, Golson has historically struggled with turnovers prior to his arrival at Florida State, but since joining the Seminoles, he has done a great job at protecting the football. He has completed a career-high 64% of his passes, for 584 yards and six touchdowns, as compared to zero interceptions. While the numbers in their totality are solid, it has been apparent throughout the first three games that Golson has not always looked in complete control of the offense. Whether this is because of the fact that he joined the program in the summer and had to take a crash course in the playbook remains to be seen, but regardless of what the issue may have been, I would expect a much more comfortable Everett Golson against Wake Forest, especially considering he had an extra week to prepare.

On defense, the Seminoles are facing an improved Wake Forest attack. It is still up in the air who will actually start the game at quarterback for the Demon Deacons, with John Wolford questionable due to injury, but expect to see a ton of Kendall Hinton in this game for Wake. Hinton is a dynamic run-first quarterback, who has carried the ball for a team-high 170 yards and four touchdowns, but has struggled mightily to throw the football since replacing Wolford a couple of weeks ago. He has only completed 50% of his passes, totaling just over 460 yards, while throwing one touchdown to only three interceptions.

With the experience of Ramsey and company in the secondary, I have trouble envisioning a scenario where the Demon Deacons keep it competitive if forced to put the ball in the air.

The key for the ‘Noles defense will be to force Hinton to beat them with his arm. With the experience of Ramsey and company in the secondary, I have trouble envisioning a scenario where the Demon Deacons keep it competitive if forced to put the ball in the air. With that being said, Wake does have some playmakers on the outside that can exploit defensive mistakes. Tight end Cam Serigne is the bona fide safety blanket for the quarterbacks, catching nearly everything that comes his way, while K.J. Brent is the Demon Deacons’ big play threat on the outside, who leads the team in receiving with 279 yards on the season.


While the Demon Deacons are 12th nationally in fewest allowed plays of 10 yards or more, I don’t see them being able to stop the Florida State rushing attack. Expect a heavy dose of Dalvin Cook, with some play-action pass mixed in offensively for the Seminoles. If Wake is unable to stop the run, they will be in for a long day, as Everett Golson will finally be put in a favorable position to catch the defense off-guard and showcase his great ability to push the football down the field. We have all been waiting on Jimbo Fisher to unleash Golson and allow him to make plays with some deep passes, and I believe that this is the week we will finally see that happen. Additionally, I don’t think that the Demon Deacons have the horses on offense to keep up with the athleticism of the Florida State defense, which will ultimately lead to the Seminoles imposing their will in forcing Wake to become one dimensional. Because of these reasons, I like Florida State in a rout. They’ll cover.

Florida State  41      Wake Forest   14