ACC Football: Wake Forest 35, Florida State 30
By Joedy McCreary
WINSTON-SALEM — Josh Harris kept breaking off long runs, and Tanner Price followed with touchdown passes. They gave Wake Forest its best start to ACC play — and yet another victory over Florida State.
Price threw three scoring passes, Harris rushed for 136 yards and Wake Forest upset the 23rd-ranked Seminoles 35-30 on Saturday.
Price was 21 of 35 for 233 yards with touchdowns covering 22 yards to Chris Givens, 2 yards to Tommy Bohanon and 8 yards to Terence Davis.
That helped the Demon Deacons (4-1, 3-0) win their fourth straight and open league play with three wins for the first time in school history, even if those ACC victories came by a total 20 points.
“We’re a football team that’s good enough to beat you, but we’re not good enough to get away from you,” coach Jim Grobe said.
A 10-point underdog, Wake Forest trailed for only about five minutes of the first half, led the entire second half and rolled up 391 yards against what was thought to be one of the ACC’s toughest defenses. Florida State (2-3, 0-2) entered giving up just 257 total yards per game.
Somehow, the Demon Deacons — and a roster that includes 30 Florida natives — seem to have the Seminoles figured out.
Wake Forest has won four of six in the series, and each of its previous three teams to beat Florida State went on to play in bowl games. The Demon Deacons’ last three victories over Top 25 teams also have come at the Seminoles’ expense.
“We can’t sit all year and be like, ‘We beat Florida State. Our season’s over now,’” Harris said. “We have another tough game next week (Virginia Tech).”
E.J. Manuel, playing for the first time in three weeks, replaced Clint Trickett late in the first half and finished 19 of 35 for 286 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
His 2-yard scoring pass to Kenny Shaw made it a five-point game with 54 seconds left, but he overthrew Nick O’Leary in the corner of the end zone on the 2-point conversion.
Givens then recovered the onside kick for Wake Forest to seal it.
Manuel also threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene for the turnover-prone Seminoles. The preseason ACC favorites have lost three straight for the first time since 2009.
James Wilder Jr. and Ty Jones had 3-yard touchdown runs. But Florida State turned it over five times — four interceptions and a fumble — and Wake Forest turned those giveaways into 17 points.
“When one side (of the ball) is playing well and the other side needs stops, we’re not getting them,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “When the (defense) is getting stops and the other side needs to convert, we’re not doing it. … We’re not playing as a unit, as a team, as an organization, together, and we’ve got to figure out why it’s not.”
Davis caught two touchdown passes for the Demon Deacons. His first, a 30-yarder from receiver Michael Camapanaro on a trick play, gave Wake Forest the lead for good at 9-7 nearly 3 minutes into the second quarter.
His second score, a quick slant in the end zone from Price, pushed the lead to 32-17 just 10 seconds into the fourth.
And after Jones’ short scoring run pulled the Seminoles within eight points with 12:37 left, the Demon Deacons countered with an 11-play drive that chewed up six minutes. Jimmy Newman’s 32-yard field goal made it 35-24 with 6:27 remaining.
Givens finished with six receptions for 101 yards while Harris — the first 100-yard rusher allowed by Florida State this season — lit up the ACC’s toughest run defense with runs of 42 and 57 yards to set up touchdown passes by Price.
“The two big runs, nothing was better than that today,” Grobe said.
Greene had 12 catches for 163 yards with a touchdown for the Seminoles, who couldn’t overcome their first five-turnover game since 2009.
Trickett, a redshirt freshman making his second straight start, was pulled after his third turnover — two interceptions and a fumble — in favor of Manuel, who missed Florida State’s last game with an injured left shoulder.
“They told me (Manuel) could play, but one good shot could set us back six weeks,” Fisher said. “He could go in an emergency if we had to have him. … The way the game was going, and we had some turnovers … it was an emergency.”
Wake Forest had minus-1 yard rushing yet led 16-14 at halftime, largely because the Demon Deacons turned Trickett’s three turnovers into 10 points.
Five plays after Trickett’s second interception, Price found Givens in the end zone to put Wake Forest up 16-7 with 1:57 left.
That’s when Fisher brought in Manuel, and the dual-threat junior had his most productive drive of the day, an 88-yard march in 54 seconds. His scoring pass to Greene pulled Florida State to within two at the break.
The Associated Press