FSU doesn't want a repeat of 2011 vs. Wake

FSU doesn't want a repeat of 2011 vs. Wake

Published Sep. 14, 2012 3:42 p.m. ET

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State’s defensive players say what happened last year at Wake Forest is in the past. They said this week that they haven’t watched the game film from last season’s 35-30 defeat and that they’ve moved on.

But the memory of what the Demon Deacons did on offense is still unforgettable. Josh Harris ran for 136 yards, Tanner Price had 233 passing yards and threw three touchdown passes. Wide receiver Chris Givens had 101 yards, and another receiver, Michael Campanaro, also had a 30-yard touchdown pass on a trick play.

“They outplayed us,” FSU safety Lamarcus Joyner said. “We overlooked those guys. … This year we’re ready. We’re focused on them. They are our No. 1 priority, and we’re ready to give them our all.”

Wake stunned an already shaken FSU team in 2011 that was coming off a loss to No. 1 Oklahoma and another defeat at Clemson. Wake made timely third-down conversions, broke off a few long runs and capitalized on FSU’s 13 penalties.

“I think about it because I was there,” middle linebacker Vince Williams said. “They are the same team in a sense, and we’re the same team in a sense. But it’s going to be a brand new game. …

“From a linebacker’s perspective, I realize that their running back was the only running back to run for over 100 yards last year (against FSU). So as a personal goal of mine, I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. As far as the whole defense, we just want to dominate. That’s our mentality for every game.”

The loss was a wake-up call for FSU’s defense, which allowed 35 points in back-to-back losses to Clemson and Wake Forest. But then everything changed: the Seminoles didn’t allow more than 19 points the remainder of the 2011 season.

FSU’s defense was strong the rest of the way, shutting out N.C. State and allowing just a touchdown apiece to Boston College and Florida.

Since the loss to Wake, FSU has been a different team — especially on defense. While a three-game losing streak could have demoralized FSU, it instead helped develop leaders in the locker room. Quiet veterans who led by example learned to speak up and challenge their teammates.

The Seminoles learned plenty from losing and have now won nine of 10 games, including a 2-0 mark in 2012.

No. 5 FSU has dominated Football Championship Subdivision opponents Murray State and Savannah State, but Saturday’s game against Wake (2-0) begins the meat of the schedule.

The Seminoles won’t get much of a break during this four-game stretch, which after Wake includes a home game with No. 11 Clemson and then back-to-back road dates with non-conference foe South Florida and N.C. State. FSU’s games with Wake, Clemson and N.C. State are all Atlantic Division matchups, and the Seminoles can’t afford a loss if they are to challenge for their first ACC title since 2005.

“Now we’re about to be challenged,” Joyner said. “We have a pretty good schedule. We’re ready to show everybody we’re ready to live up to these high expectations that everybody has for us.”