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Game Story: FSU struggles on offense, defense in loss to Wake Forest

A hard-fought battle to the end.

Charles Mays

The Florida State Seminoles kicked off against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons under a beautiful Florida sun inside Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday. The two ranked teams were 4-0 and 3-1 respectively and the Deacons will be riding home with a win under their belt.

The Seminoles received the ball first and quarterback Jordan Travis opened up with a bomb to Johnny Wilson that was broken up but the next two plays were huge gains with an easy completion to wide receiver Wilson and a big run by Treshaun Ward. The drive ended in an 18-yard completion to WR Mycah Pittman which marked his first touchdown reception in Garnet and Gold.

The Wake Forest offense stalled with a big stop by linebacker Kalen DeLoach and a penalty that forced the Deacons to punt and after a couple of close calls, the ‘Noles went three and out as well.

The Seminole defense had trouble with Wake’s tempo and design and in the red zone on 4th and short the Demon Deacons were able to score on a one-yard run by Christian Turner.

Johnny Wilson got the Noles’ second drive off to a start but Wake’s defensive line was able to apply constant pressure and disrupt the timing of Travis’ throws which led to a back-and-forth trade of possessions to end the first quarter.

Wake’s offense continued to sustain drives while moving into scoring position with a big 35-yard run by Justice Ellison. The Deacons would score shortly after on a four-yard pass to wideout A.T. Perry.

Keeping Florida State’s offense on the field proved to be difficult in the first half and although the fumble luck was in FSU’s favor, to begin with, the turnover bug hit the Noles hard in the second quarter. Travis’ first fumble of the season was recovered by Wake who would go on to score again.

After taking one to the house against Boston College, Trey Benson was able to put the offense in excellent field position but they couldn't seem to find a rhythm in the first half only scoring on their first drive. The offensive woes put a ton of pressure on the defense which would have really liked to play keep away from Sam Hartman by leaving them in precarious situations with an inability to get off the field. That, and plagued by injuries saw the Noles down 21- heading into the third quarter with Jared Verse coming in at a critical time to notch his fourth sack of the season. The sack forced a field goal attempt which was missed by Wake.

Halftime Stats

Passing - Jordan Travis (9-16, 115-yards, 1 TD)

Rushing - 77-yards total (Treshaun Ward, 7 attempts for 54-yards)

Receiving - 115-yards total (Johnny Wilson, 3 receptions for 52-yards)

Coming out of the half, Wake continued its onslaught driving the field to the end zone to make the score 28-7. After moving the ball for 342 total yards, FSU’s defense started to wear down giving Wake the green light to run their offense.

The Seminoles remained resilient and Travis to Pittman provided a spark. Pittman caught back-to-back 24-yard passes to put the Seminoles in scoring position. Their second scoring drive ended with Pittman in the end zone to put a dent in their deficit and the following two-point attempt was no good.

*Pittman ended his day with a career-high of 85-yards and two touchdowns. Those two touchdowns also met a season-high for Pittman, who put up that total in 2019.

The Seminole offense seemingly got into a rhythm but offensive penalties plagued what would’ve been points on the board deep into Wake territory and after a dominating third quarter the Noles were still left with 13 points on the board.

Early into the 4th quarter, Travis found success with tight end Camren McDonald who has bailed out the offense a few times this season. Rushes by Treshaun Ward and Travis put the offense in a position to score and Johnny Wilson was the man in the end zone to make the score 19-28. The two-point conversion was good with a throwback pass to tight end Markeston Douglas.

The Seminoles were unable to come out on top despite battling from behind and will look ahead to a road game against NC State Saturday, Oct 8.

Winning big and winning close come hand in hand with losing close. The Seminoles didn’t quit despite adversity which is something teams of the past might have done. FSU was in it until the end and lost to a Wake team that was eager to bounce back after a loss to Clemson. Still, it wasn’t as complete of a game as expected from the team but the improvements shown this season shouldn't be lost on a tooth and nail battle to the end.

FSU 21, Wake Forest 31


Jordan Travis (23-35, 281-yards, three touchdowns)


112 yards total (Treshaun Ward, 13 rushes for 87 yards)


281-yards total (Johnny Wilson six receptions for 85 yards, one touchdown, Mycah Pittman five receptions 85 yards, two touchdowns)

Offensive MVP

WR Mycah Pittman, WR Johnny Wilson, QB Jordan Travis.

The wide receivers proved again why they are some of the best in the ACC despite a lackluster start. Travis tried to will his team into victory despite being pressured at every angle.

Defensive MVP

LB Kalen DeLoach, DE Jared Verse. DeLoach proved again to be reliable and smart coming in on blitz packages and really having a nose for the football. This game would’ve looked a lot different with a fully healthy defense.