TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Coming into Saturday night, every Seminole coach and player knew that the key to beating an upstart Wake Forest team was to limit mistakes. Nevertheless, Florida State loaded up on penalties, special teams miscues, turnovers and all around sluggish play. When the dust finally settled at halftime, FSU found itself down 20-0.
It didn't get much better in the second half. The 'Noles played dead for the Deacons in the final two quarters converting just three first downs. With FSU showing no signs of life, the fans responded by leaving in droves before the fourth quarter began.
"We were just inept tonight," a frustrated Bobby Bowden said after the game. "I can remember one other game as bad as that back in 1981. I may have had another one back in 1955."
You have to go all the way back to 1973 to find the last time the Seminoles were shutout at home.
The error fest started at the end of the 'Noles' best offensive drive at the start of the second quarter. Facing a second and one from Wake Forest's 7-yard line and down only 3-0, two straight penalties, a false start and a personal foul, knocked FSU back to the 29-yard line. Kicker Gary Cismesia proceeded to hook a 44-yard attempt wide left.
On the next two series, quarterback Xavier Lee threw consecutive interceptions deep in FSU's end of the field resulting in 10 quick points for Wake Forest. The visiting Deacons then proceeded to put together a 9-play, 63-yard touchdown drive and the blowout was on.
After his two straight interceptions, Lee was benched midway into the second quarter for Drew Weatherford. However, Weatherford was ineffective and failed to move the offense into scoring range in his seven series under center.
All in all, FSU turned the ball over four times leading to 17 Wake Forest points.
"I'm kind of lost for words right now when it comes to this season and all of the expectations that we had and all the potential we had," Weatherford said. "I really never imagined us being this way and at this point, it's really hard to fathom that we are 5-5 and fighting for bowl-eligibility."
Even though the defense had its back against the wall for most of the night, Jim Grobe's offense was as good as advertised posting over 300 yards of total offense. Running back Kenneth Moore led the way with 80 rushing yards on 24 carries. Quarterback Riley Skinner was unspectacular but efficient completing 13-of-19 for 138 yards. Meanwhile, FSU's quarterbacks combined to complete just 9-of-29 for 113 yards and had four interceptions.
From here, the 'Noles must regroup and prepare for a Homecoming matchup with Western Michigan. Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m.