Along with N.C. State and Georgia Tech, Florida State encountered Wake Forest on the gridiron in plenty of seasons before they joined the ACC in 1992. FSU holds a decisive edge in the series with a 30-7-1 overall record, but Wake Forest has won 5 of the past 14 games.
While FSU rolled over Wake most of the 1990’s, Bobby Bowden’s crew looked to simply escape with a win back in the 1998 game. With star quarterback Chris Weinke out for the season, Marcus Outzen (you may remember him as the Rooster) stepped in to lead FSU to a modest 24-7 win. Noles sacked Wake Forest 7 times and Mario Edwards had an eye-popping 4 interceptions in the victory.
Weinke returned the next season and passed for 354 yards and kicker Sebastian Janikowski nailed 4 field goals to continue wire-to-wire dominance on the way to Florida State’s second National Championship.
Fighting for positioning in the BCS in 2000, #3 FSU topped Wake 35-6 after leading just 14-3 at halftime. Receiver Snoop Minnis caught 3 touchdowns, and rising sophomore Anquan Boldin hauled in 2 himself.
In 2001, FSU made it 10-0 against the Demon Deacons as ACC foes. Second-year Wake head coach Jim Grobe was already showing promise when his team jumped out 14-0 in the first quarter the next year, despite falling 34-21. In 2003, FSU doubled up Wake Forest 48-24, the next year Xavier Beitia’s field goal with a minute left lifted FSU 20-17, then the Noles made easy work of it again back at home in 2005.
But in 2006 came a devastating moment for Florida State and conversely one of the best wins in Wake Forest program history. When they were drilled 30-0 inside Doak Campbell, FSU was shut out at home for the first time since 1973.
Wake rode the momentum of the historic win back in Winston-Salem the year after, using a 17-0 second half run to beat the Seminoles again. To make it 3 in a row in 2008, they held FSU to just a measly 3 points in a battle of field goals. A redshirt freshman E.J. Manuel won his first career start, leading an impressive 41-28 performance on the road that was absolutely crucial for FSU to preserve their lengthy winning season and bowl streaks.
Current Kentucky head coach and then-defensive coordinator Mark Stoops was well on his way to turning around the FSU defense when FSU shut out the Demon Deacons 31-0 in 2010. Grobe grabbed his fourth win in the series in an upset 2011 win, with Wake leading the entire game. Mistakes doomed the Noles, who surrendered 5 turnovers and a safety.
Revenge was sweet for running back Chris Thompson (197 yards on just 9 carries) and FSU, who dominated Wake Forest 52-0 one year later. Freshman defensive backs Jalen Ramsey and Nate Andrews each took one to the house in 2013, FSU made it 21 straight wins in a row behind Robert Aguayo in 2014, and the Noles went into cruise control in 2015 after Dalvin Cook’s 94-yard touchdown and subsequent injury.
There wasn’t much drama in Tallahassee in 2016 or 2018, but there certainly was in between those two years in Jimbo Fisher’s final season of 2017. Sitting at 0-2 after being ranked #3 to start the season, James Blackman broke a 19-19 tie late when he connected with wideout Auden Tate for a 40-yard game-winning touchdown with 53 seconds left in the game.
Wake stung FSU again last season, a game in the pouring rain that sunk the hopes of the 2019 Seminoles. A back-and-forth contest that came down to the final moments, Florida State couldn’t overcome the sludge in Winston-Salem and fell 22-20.
Coincidently, the Demon Deacons took down FSU by the same exact 22-20 score in their third-ever meeting in 1959. The two squared off three times in the 1950’s. Lee Corso carried the ball 15 times with a touchdown and was 5-of-8 passing in the first-ever meeting in 1956, a 14-14 tie. Florida State started the same 11 on offense as they did on defense in their first win against Wake in 1958.
In the fourth meeting between the two programs, rookie FSU head coach Bill Peterson began a dominant streak over Wake Forest. Peterson went 6-0 versus the Noles future ACC Atlantic foe, and he actually led more shut outs over Wake Forest than Bobby Bowden did.
The highlight of the six straight wins was the stellar play of flanker Ron Sellers in the 1966 and 1968 matchups. An 86-yard touchdown catch by the FSU legend as a sophomore, and the incredible, record-shattering performance as a senior: 14 receptions for 260 yards and 5 touchdowns! All three are still FSU career marks to this day.
A painful, winless season in 1973 for the Noles began with an equally painful 9-7 loss to Wake Forest. Wake nailed a 41-yard field goal with a minute left in the game for the win.
Flash forward 19 years to the next game between the two, only the fourth-ever ACC contest in FSU history in 1992. Tamarick Vanover took a kickoff to the house from 96 yards out and caught a touchdown as well in the win.
Over the next four seasons from 1993 to 1996, Florida State outscored Wake Forest 226 to 34. Star tailback Warrick Dunn averaged over 9 yards-per-carry in his four games against Wake, rushing for 367 yards and 5 touchdowns. The closest score at halftime in the four blowouts was 28-7.
A staggering 17 Seminoles received an All-ACC selection in 1997, when FSU moved to 10-0 with a 58-7 clobbering of the Demon Deacons. It was 28-0 in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, the 2020 season is over for both Florida State and Wake Forest, as their Dec. 19 game was canceled the day before the game amid positive COVID-19 tests. ACC Atlantic Division members FSU and Wake will not play for the first time since 1991.
Year-By-Year Results (FSU 30 Wins, Wake 7 Wins, 1 Tie)
1956: Florida State 14, Wake Forest 14 (Tie)
1958: Florida State 27, Wake Forest 24
1959: Wake Forest 22, Florida State 20
1960: Florida State 14, Wake Forest 6
1963: Florida State 35, Wake Forest 0
1965: Florida State 35, Wake Forest 0
1966: Florida State 28, Wake Forest 0
1968: Florida State 42, Wake Forest 24
1970: Florida State 19, Wake Forest 14
1973: Wake Forest 9, Florida State 7
1992: Florida State 35, Wake Forest 7
1993: Florida State 54, Wake Forest 0
1994: Florida State 56, Wake Forest 14
1995: Florida State 72, Wake Forest 13
1996: Florida State 44, Wake Forest 7
1997: Florida State 58, Wake Forest 7
1998: Florida State 24, Wake Forest 7
1999: Florida State 33, Wake Forest 10
2000: Florida State 35, Wake Forest 6
2001: Florida State 48, Wake Forest 24
2002: Florida State 34, Wake Forest 21
2003: Florida State 48, Wake Forest 24
2004: Florida State 20, Wake Forest 17
2005: Florida State 41, Wake Forest 24
2006: Wake Forest 30, Florida State 0
2007: Wake Forest 24, Florida State 21
2008: Wake Forest 12, Florida State 3
2009: Florida State 41, Wake Forest 28
2010: Florida State 31, Wake Forest 0
2011: Wake Forest 35, Florida State 30
2012: Florida State 52, Wake Forest 0
2013: Florida State 59, Wake Forest 3
2014: Florida State 43, Wake Forest 3
2015: Florida State 24, Wake Forest 16
2016: Florida State 17, Wake Forest 6
2017: Florida State 26, Wake Forest 19
2018: Florida State 38, Wake Forest 17
2019: Wake Forest 22, Florida State 20