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How did Florida State's injury replacements play against Wake Forest?

Minus some pivotal players, here's a look at how the replacements responded in the Seminoles' Saturday win.

Johnathan Vickers
Johnathan Vickers
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher is fond of the simplistic -- though not inaccurate -- phrase "That's ball," and he used it again on Saturday to describe the Seminoles' need to respond to some key injuries in Florida State's 24-16 road victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Injuries will always play a big part of college football, but FSU was particularly tested on Saturday in Winston-Salem. So how did the 'Nole subs grade out?

Running Back: Stepping in for Dalvin Cook

This isn't really fair for Johnathan Vickers, the North Florida Christian grad who was summoned to duty after Cook tweaked a hamstring early on. Usually, Cook's carries would have gone to junior Mario Pender, but Pender is resting up after surgery on his lung. That said, Vickers acquitted himself admirably, performing quite well in pass protection and displaying patience when toting the rock 10 times for 33 yards. His highlight came when he showed excellent vision and balance that enabled him to register his first career rushing touchdown, a nine-yard run in the second quarter that put FSU up 14-3.

Many wondered how the carries behind Cook would weigh out between Vickers and rookie Jacques Patrick, but that question seems to have been answered firmly in the former's favor, at least for now, as Patrick, though targeted once on a pass, did not register a carry. The big-picture question is this: since neither Vickers nor Patrick appear to possess the big-play ability of Cook and Pender, will this prompt Fisher, finally, to incorporate quarterback Everett Golson's legs a bit more moving forward?

Linebacker: Replacing Terrance Smith

Smith's exit due to a lower-leg injury was tough, though unsurprising, for FSU. The fifth-year senior was coming off a superb performance against Boston College, his latest achievement in a fine 2015 season. Unfortunately, Smith could very well be relegated to the on-again, off-again status through which he fought valiantly during much of last year.

The good news for FSU is that Ro'Derrick Hoskins continues to emerge in his sophomore season, playing solidly with eight tackles and a pass breakup, and Reggie Northrup had perhaps his best game of the season, notching 10 tackles and four quarterback hurries, while looking better in pass coverage. Transfer Lorenzo Phillips underwhelmed, however, looking largely lost in the scant playing time he saw.

Safety: Nate Andrews goes down

This one may prove to be the most long-term injury question the 'Noles have to address. Andrews, a level-headed third-year starter from Fairhope, Alabama, departed after sustaining a left-knee injury and did not return, save to lend moral support while donning crutches on the sideline.

The 'Noles seemed particularly flummoxed here: they tried freshman Derwin James, but he seems still to be grasping defensive concepts, and redshirt-senior Keelin Smith didn't fair much better. FSU ultimately decided to move Trey Marshall back to safety while working Tyler Hunter at the star position, but this solution is not without its drawbacks, as Marshall can struggle in coverage and seems better suited playing closer to the line of scrimmage.

Moving forward

With the grudge match against Miami looming, the injury bug that jumped up and bit FSU against Wake certainly could have come at a better time-- although there's really no such thing as good timing for injuries. The best solution is depth, and the 'Noles showed that they have some, along with notable question marks, in key spots on Saturday. But to reiterate Fisher: "That's ball."