WINSTON-SALEM, NC. (Seminoles.com) — Quarterback McKenzie Milton completed 11 of 16 passes for 119 yards, Ontaria Wilson posted 91 receiving yards and Treshaun Ward ran for 48 yards but Florida State lost its ACC opener to Wake Forest by a 35-14 margin at Truist Field.
Wake Forest scored the first 14 points of the game and led 27-14 at halftime. The Demon Deacons scored only once after halftime as the Florida State defense limited Wake Forest to 152 total yards in the second half. Wake Forest held the ball on offense for 39 minutes as they not only kept Florida State’s defense on the field but held the Seminoles to 21:00 minutes of possession. Wake Forest’s up-tempo offense ran 89 plays while the Deacons limited Florida State’s offense to 51 plays.
Florida State’s defense was stout as it recorded 95 total tackles during the game. Jermaine Johnson led the Seminoles with 10 tackles (six unassisted). He was credited with one quarterback hurry and a quarterback sack. Florida State totaled three sacks in the game and have a team total of 12 in the first three games of the season – three more than the Seminoles recorded in nine games during the 2020 season. Johnson has 5.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles for minus yardage in his first season as a Seminole.
Quarterback Jordan Travis threw for two touchdowns – one to Wilson and one by Ward – as he completed five of six passes for 107 yards.
“Disappointed in the outcome of today,” said Seminole Head Coach Mike Norvell following the game.
“I’m hurting for these guys that are in the locker room. There’s a lot of work that goes invested. I believe in these guys. I believe in what they can do. I believe in what they can accomplish. In the moment, we’ve got to keep that same belief and go out there and play to the belief and go out there and play to the level and coach to the level that we are capable of. You’ve got to give credit to Wake Forest for how they played and what they did.”
Wake Forest struck first after both teams traded turnovers on the first two possessions of the game (an interception by Florida State’s Sydney Williams and a fumble by the Seminoles’ Jashaun Corbin). The Deacons scored on a 49-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sam Hartman to A.T. Perry for a 7-0 Wake Forest lead.
Christian Beal-Smith increased Wake Forest’s lead to 14-0 with a seven-yard scoring run as the home team scored for the second time in the first quarter. The Deacons’ scoring drive was kept alive by a roughing the punter penalty called on the Seminoles.
Florida State cut the Deacons’ lead in half late in the first quarter as Travis found Treshaun Ward on an 8-yard touchdown scoring play to make the score 14-7. The touchdown pass was the third of the season for Jordan and the first career touchdown reception for Ward.
Hartman connected with Donald Stewart on an 11-yard touchdown pass to increase Wake Forest’s lead to 21-7 early in the second quarter. The scoring pass culminated a 12-play, 75-yard drive – a drive that included a 14-yard unnecessary roughness penalty called on the Seminoles.
A 42-yard field goal by Wake Forest’s Nick Sciba increased the Demon Deacon’s lead to 24-7 with 3:25 left before halftime.
A second touchdown pass by Travis – this time to Wilson – brought the Seminoles to within 10 at 24-14 at the 3:16 mark of the second quarter.
Wake Forest added a 22-yard field goal by Sciba and led 27-14 at halftime.
After forcing Florida State to punt on its first possession of the second half, Hartman led a lengthy 14-play, 90-yard drive that ended in a one-yard scoring burst by Justice Ellison. The touchdown increased the Deacons’ lead to 35-14 and was the final score of the game by either team.
Florida State plays host to Louisville Sept. 25 at Doak Campbell Stadium in a 3:30 start as the Seminoles return home for the first of two consecutive home games.