WINSTON-SALEM, NC – – Sam Hartman threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns, and AT Perry caught seven passes for 155 yards and one touchdown as Wake Forest passed error-ridden Florida State 35-14 Saturday afternoon.
Wake Forest (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) racked up 484 yards – 332 in the first half – of total offense, including 225 on the ground. Florida State (0-3, 0-1), who juggled McKenzie Milton and Jordan Travis for quarterback, committed six turnovers but stayed within striking range in the first half thanks to a strike from 65 yards from Travis to a grand opening Ontario Wilson.
“The offensive line has done an incredible job,” said Hartman.
Hartman hit Perry in stride with a deep strike to the right side for a 49-yard touchdown to start the assault. The Deacons scored their next two touchdowns after prolonged unnecessary harshness and roughness penalties.
“We never gave ourselves the chance to play winning football,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “We continue to see the mistakes that cost us the previous weeks. “
Leading by 21 points at the end of the third quarter, Wake Forest dashed Florida State’s realistic hopes by stopping Milton before a first down on a fourth and two runs from the Deacons’ 11th.
At the start of the scoreless fourth quarter, Milton felt for the ball in the Wake Forest end zone while stretching towards the goal line.
The ball slipped in and out of the hands of players on both teams before being picked up by Deacons defensive end Luiji Vilain for a touchback.
“This kind of game has changed the game,” Hartman said of touchback. “The defense, I would say, won this game for us.”
Milton again lost a fumble on the next drive when he was crushed by defenders while trying to avoid a rushed pass.
Perry, who also went high to carry a 44-yard pass late in the first half, had six catches for 141 yards at halftime.
“We really knew we had to come in with fire,” Perry said. “This is a statement. “
TO TAKE WITH
Florida State: Already reeling from a loss to Jacksonville State, the Seminoles have been pushed around by the deacons and appear to be heading for a fourth straight season of loss. Critical first-half turnovers and penalties kept them from posing a serious threat. In the trenches, the State of Florida could not run straight ahead. In defense, the Seminoles gave up the big games and missed too many tackles.
Wake Forest: After a pair of wins over non-FBS opponents, the deacons passed their first ACC test. Hartman was particularly impressive, not only throwing, but coping under pressure. The deacons seemed content to kill the clock in the fourth quarter. With Hartman in command of a dangerous attack, the Deacons could come as a surprise to the ACC.
Florida State once again used Milton and Travis as quarterback. Milton got the go-ahead for most of the second half and the Seminoles moved the ball, but his fumbles were costly. Milton finished with 119 yards and two interceptions with 11 completed passes in 16 attempts. Travis had 5 passes on 6 for 107 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Hartman was efficient in throwing the ball when needed. The second broke a tackle on a 23-yard run to set up the Deacons’ first touchdown. In the second half, he tumbled down on defenders, landing on the head, for a 2-point conversion.
Although they received no votes in the Top 25 APs last week, deacons are able to climb the rankings and climb the ranks of the struggling ACC. If they don’t get any votes on Sunday, they likely would with a victory in Virginia. With Louisville, Syracuse, Army and Duke to follow, deacons are in a voting position.
Florida State: The Seminoles play at home on Saturday against Louisville.
Wake Forest: Deacons play Friday night in Virginia.