FSU Football vs. Wake Forest In-Depth Recap: What We Learned

Here’s the most in depth recap of FSU football and their latest game and what we learned from their win against Wake Forest.

After arguably their biggest win of the season the week before against rival Miami, the Seminoles looked as hung over as some students on a weekend morning with the way they played against Wake Forest this weekend. Still, in spite of that lethargic, four turnover performance against the Atlantic Division foe, FSU football was able to hold on for the (score) win over the Demon Deacons.

Now, the Seminoles get a much needed break for many of their players to heal from injuries – including starting quarterback Deondre Francois – and prepare for a five game stretch that will decide if FSU football is still one of the top teams in college football or has taken a step back status wide.

Here’s a look at what we learned from FSU football’s latest game against the Demon Deacons.

Oct 15, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) leaps over Wake Forest Demon Deacons linebacker Thomas Brown (26) during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 – It has been a hell of a first seven games as a starting quarterback for Francois, who took another beating this week by a stout Deacons defense that hit him just as hard as Miami did the weekend before. Still, D12 finished the day with over 300 yards passing to go with one touchdown each through the air and on the ground. More importantly, he kept getting up after being hit. No one deserves more of a break during the bye week than the redshirt freshman quarterback.

No. 2 – To say that Travis Rudolph is the Seminoles’ only real target in the passing game would be an understatement. The junior from West Palm Beach had 238 yards receiving – while the rest of the team had just over 80 for the entire game. While Rudolph is the unquestioned leader of that position, it creates a fear that defenses will know to key on No. 15 for the rest of the season and force Francois to rely on the other receivers and tight ends – something he has done at times this season, but needs to do with more consistency.

No. 3 – For the fourth straight game, Dalvin Cook went over the century mark on rushing yards – but also coughed up the ball twice and had fans of the Seminoles having flashbacks of his multiple fumbles in the Rose Bowl loss to Oregon several years ago. It goes without saying that if the ‘Noles are going to have any chance of upsetting Clemson in two weeks and winning out this season, the production from Cook is going to need to be outstanding.

Oct 15, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Demarcus Walker (44) sacks Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback John Wolford (10) during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 15, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Demarcus Walker (44) sacks Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback John Wolford (10) during the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 – Attacked for much of the season, the FSU defense looked amazing for the second straight week, giving up just 252 yards total in the game and allowing just over two yards a carry. DeMarcus Walker, Josh Sweat, Derrick Nnadi and the rest of the front seven played lights out for much of the game. Yes, the competition was not on the same level of teams like Miami, Ole Miss or Louisville, but give credit when it’s due.

No. 5 – Along those same lines, the secondary bent at several points in the game but was able to contain the passing game from Wake Forest and keep them out of the end zone. Tarvarus McFadden came up with yet another interception, his fifth of the year, while Marcus Lewis joined the party with a pick of his own. The challenge next game, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, is going to test if this unit has truly turned the corner.

No. 6 – With all that being said, Wake Forest became just the latest team to use that bubble screen pass to get results against the FSU football defense. North Carolina made a game of it a couple weeks ago, followed by Miami getting success out of it for much of the game. If you don’t think Clemson, N.C. State and Florida aren’t going to try and run the same darn plays, you’re crazy.

Oct 15, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles kicker Ricky Aguayo (23) warms up before the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 15, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles kicker Ricky Aguayo (23) warms up before the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Extra Point

Before even stepping on campus as a member of the FSU football program, the expectations were through the roof for kicker Ricky Aguayo. It had as much to do with his abilities as with the high standards set by his brother Roberto, a Lou Groza Award winner and multiple time All-American.

Through the first four games, things looked like they were going to be business as usual with Ricky making 11 of his first 12 field goal attempts. That narrative has changed of late, with the freshman converting just three of his seven attempts in the last three games – including another miss this week against Wake Forest.

It’s no secret that kickers can be the worst when it comes to getting out of a slump. As evident by the two point loss to North Carolina (where he missed all three attempts) and the one point win over Miami (where he made both attempts), the kicking game is going to be crucial the rest of the way – and the Seminoles need Ricky to get out of his own head and kick like an Aguayo.

Going For Two

Through seven games of the 2016 regular season, it goes without saying that the Seminoles have not played a complete game all year. It’s either a case of “one bad half, one great half” or playing down to the competition – from the opener against Ole Miss to the comeback against Miami to Saturday’s game against Wake Forest.

We’ve written in recent weeks about how the 2016 Seminoles sometimes appear to be playing with a level or complacency after the team’s recent success – namely the 2013 national championship season. Even with the recent victories, FSU football is nowhere out of the woods this season with games left against Clemson, N.C. State and Florida on the schedule.

This may be the most important bye week of Jimbo Fisher’s seven seasons in Tallahassee – because while the Seminoles have the talent to finish the regular season 10-2, they are playing at times like they would be perfectly fine with being 7-5 when it’s all said and done.

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