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Matchup and Memories: Florida State vs Wake Forest

Can the Seminoles wake up and repeat their dominance against the Demon Deacons?

Florida State v Wake Forest Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Three weeks in, and Florida State will attempt to secure its first victory of the season against Wake Forest. Let’s take a look into this week’s matchup and memories:

  • Opponent: Wake Forest Demon Deacons
  • First matchup: 10/20/1956 (A 14-14 tie)
  • Series record: FSU with a dominant 30 wins compared to Wake Forest’s 7. The teams also have the aforementioned tie.
  • Current streak: Wake Forest with a 1 game winning streak.
  • Last game: Florida State was defeated by Wake Forest in 2019, 22-20 (10/19/19). The 2020 game was canceled.

The winless Seminoles will take on the undefeated Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem this weekend. Last year’s game was canceled due to COVID-related issues. The year before saw FSU lose a close one with the Seminoles missing a game-winning field goal. Can the Noles capture their first win of the season?

NoleThruandThru’s Recruiting Reminiscences

While Florida State and Wake Forest have offered hundreds of the same prospects over the years, to my knowledge a notable prospect prioritized by both teams has never chosen Wake over FSU, nor even had a final two of the Seminoles and Demon Deacons. Having said that, Wake Forest has made a habit of bringing in overlooked prospects from the Sunshine State, many of whom circled the annual matchup with FSU as a revenge game for being snubbed by the ‘Noles (and other in state schools).

The most notable name would be c/o 2004 CB Alphonso Smith. The hidden gem from Pahokee, FL was ignored by the Florida schools due to his size and went on to have an excellent career in gold and black, exacting his revenge on the ‘Noles during the infamous 30-0 beatdown in 2007 in Tallahassee.

One prospect recruitniks may remember is Merrill Noel, a c/o 2010 defensive back who was briefly committed to FSU before flipping to Wake Forest after the Seminoles brought in better prospects. Noel finished a solid career in Winston Salem by serving as team captain his senior year.

Matt Minnick’s memorable moment

In week one we looked back at a loss that still inspired fond memories—and this year’s FSU/Notre Dame contest followed suit. Then in week two we recalled a win that felt like a loss...and Jacksonville State came in and actually turned feeling into reality. I don’t know about the rest of you, but this feels like a new sports superstition being born.

Just to test the theory out, this week I’m I harkening back to the days when we straight up beat the tar out of the Demon Deacons from Tobacco Road. And with the ‘Noles being 0-2, I’m offering up a BOGO trip down memory line, with one game featuring an explosive offense and the other showcasing a ball-hawking defense.

We start in 1995. The dynasty is in full swing and FSU is, unbeknownst at the time, sandwiched between two national titles. The 1995 squad may have had one of the weaker defenses out of the Seminoles’ 14-year reign of terror, but the offense has an argument for being the best that Bobby Bowden ever assembled.

On this drizzly day in October, Danny Kannell, Warrick Dunn, and Co. brought out the fireworks. Scoring on six consecutive first half possessions, FSU hit the 70 mark for the third time that season, demolishing Wake Forest 72-13. Kannell came up one TD pass short of tying the school record of six, with four of his five strikes coming in the 2nd quarter. Meanwhile, Dunn went over the century mark on just 11 carries, helping the Seminoles rushing attack accumulate 400+ yards.

As you can imagine, quite a few young guys saw action in the blowout. But, despite being in a recruiting class with heralded names like Peter Warrick, Ron Dugans, and Dan Kendra, it was Khalid Abdullah, a highly-desired fullback from Davie, Florida who sent the ‘Noles over the 70 point mark with a 59-yard run (his second TD of the game) halfway through the 4th.

Nearly two decades later, Florida State traveled to Winston-Salem in the middle of what would become its third national title winning season. This time it was the defense that set the tone early...and often.

Featuring a ridiculously talented secondary, the Seminoles intercepted Wake Forest quarterbacks six times, including one taken to the house by freshman Nate Andrews. Not to be outdone, fellow freshman Jalen Ramsey nabbed a scoop-and-score two plays later to give FSU a 35-0 lead—with nearly 14 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.

In one of the craziest box scores you’ll ever see, the ‘Noles won 59-3 despite not even topping 300 yards of total offense.

Here’s to hoping the 1995 offense and the 2013 defense, or at least some versions of them, show up on Saturday.

Matt Minnick, the resident Tomahawk Nation historian, is a Tallahassee native and life long Seminoles fan, attending over 225 FSU football games across the country since 1986.

We love hearing your favorite Florida State football moments and memories. Drop a comment below sharing something from past Florida State and Wake Forest matchups. Just how many years did Riley Skinner play for Wake Forest?