Florida State Seminoles football dropped its first game of the season on Saturday, stumbling in a 31-21 loss to the No. 22 Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
It was Wake’s third straight win against FSU, and the Seminoles’ fourth straight loss as a ranked team. While FSU managed to fight back from a 21-point deficit, it struggled throughout the game due to self-inflicted mistakes ranging from failing to finish drives on both sides of the ball and easily avoidable penalties.
To break down the loss, the Tomahawk Nation staff is tackling four questions from the game.
What was the most disappointing part of today’s loss?
LastNoleOfKrypton: The sloppiness. Whether it was the procedural penalties or missed throws that were typically hit or the blown coverages FSU at times looked uncharacteristically unfocused.
Perry: The fact that FSU did not look like it had so far through 2022 — not because it didn’t blow out Wake, but because it started shooting itself in the foot way too often. The Seminoles losing was not an unexpected outcome, but the team failing to get off the field on third down (or stay on it, on offense) and committing so many penalties felt like the struggles of yesteryear.
Gwyn: In a disappointed but not shocked way: kicking.
Tim: The lack of execution on both sides of the ball. On offense, penalties killed drives and the offensive line really struggled. On defense, not being able to get off the field and head-scratching defensive line calls at times.
Juan Montalvo III: FSU cannot kick a field goal. FSU chose two-point conversions when unnecessary because FSU did not trust its kicker. Frankly, it’s comical. It defies logic.
I know this is trivial given the failures on each side of the ball, but hang on for a bit here - it undermines the coaches’ words. If you’re the best player, you’ll play. I know they will support their kid, but if you see one player making failure after failure without changes, it makes accountability look more fluid than it should.
Aside from the anti-Midas toe, this team came out sloppy. I don’t think that’s in and of itself disappointing. They’re college kids, they don’t play the same level every week. Wake presents a unique challenge for defenses.
My biggest disappointment was the offensive line play. A unit that had been very good this year had a poor night. It happens. Hopefully, it’s a learning point.
Is the offense or defense more to blame?
LastNoleOfKrypton: Offense; You held Wake to 31 despite being on the field for 85 plays. The offense could not score in the second quarter against a bad wake forest defense.
Tim: Offense. Everyone thought this was going to be a shootout. To keep Wake to 31 points is a win for the defense.
Perry: Defense did not do its job in the first half, but still managed to contain a potent Wake offense as best it could. FSU only getting 21 points against a Demon Deacons defense that was allowing 30 per game was disappointing and it was the first time this year that it just looked like it couldn’t get anything done.
Juan: Defense inherently can’t give itself short fields, quick change situations nor bad field positions. That unit didn’t play it’s best game, but it was put in poor spots by the offense. So offense, in case that wasn’t clear.
What’s a positive takeaway from the game?
LastNoleOfKrypton: These receivers aren’t above average; they’re very good. A far cry from a year ago.
Perry: This team doesn’t crash and burn when handed a poop platter — rallying back from 21 points against a very, very good Wake Forest team is nothing to sneeze at, and while the overall result reflects that FSU still has a bit to go, the performance in context reflects the progress the Seminoles have made.
Gwyn: Jared Verse is back!
Tommy: There are a few positives to take away for me — one being that the holes that were exposed today are now out in the open and can be fixed through practice heading into next week.
Tim: Markeston Douglas, Mycah Pittman, Johnny Wilson. FSU’s passing attack is above average.
Juan: we don’t see that mind-numbing slow mesh ever again. Well at least this year.
Who does FSU need to return the most — Fabien Lovett or Robert Scott?
LastNoleOfKrypton: As sloppy and as shoddy as the pass pro was at times; Wake doesn’t get near 200 yards rushing with Fabien Lovett back.
Perry: Lovett, but it’s super close. The FSU offensive line really struggled today, leading to Jordan Travis looking uncomfortable and anxious for really the first time this season, but if Lovett is playing then the Seminoles would’ve been able to attack, rather than react, on defense.
Gwyn: Fabian. while the last two wins have been nice, I think Fabian makes the bigger difference in both.
Tommy: That is a tough question. Both lines looked like they needed their depth to return but I agree with Gwyn, Fabian would’ve made this game look a lot different. Those initial blunders in ball security along with penalties really hurt the Noles form the start.
Tim: Lovett by a mile.
Juan: this is the easiest question you’ve ever posed. Interior disruption is by far the most impactful asset a defense can have. It changes the numbers. It moves the gaps. Robert Scott is quite important for the offense, but blocking is mitigation. Pressure is positive action. That simple.