For the third consecutive week, the Florida State Seminoles rolled an opponent. This time it was a Football Bowl Subdivision foe, but Wake was hardly any match, losing 52-0 largely thanks to Florida State’s ground game and a swarming defense.
Despite dealing the Seminoles a 35-30 defeat the year before, Florida State players and coaches were careful to say in the week leading up to this year’s game that revenge was not the mindset heading in.
Afterward, the Seminoles elaborated: It wasn’t about revenge, but about making a point.
“The fact that we went out there [Saturday], we wanted to make this a statement game,” quarterback EJ Manuel said. “We lost to Wake last year, had some injuries, but this year it was a statement.”
Said receiver Rashad Greene: “It was a big statement. It was a statement for ourselves and within our team — to come out here and get better and improve each week to reach our full potential. There are still a lot of things we have to work on, but it was a game to be able to get better and have fun.”
And fullback Lonnie Pryor: “We wanted to make a statement [Saturday]. Our goal is to win the ACC and hopefully win a national championship. [Wake Forest was] in the way, so we won, and hopefully we can keep this thing going.”
Truth be told, though, if Florida State really wants to make a statement, it will have to come next weekend.
Florida State has outscored their opponents 176-3 this season, but its competition — even Wake Forest — has been seriously overmatched.
This week the Seminoles will face No. 10 Clemson in a top-10 battle that will likely decide the ACC Atlantic Division. ESPN already has designated the matchup the game of the week, and will send College Gameday to Tallahassee this weekend.
“We’ve won three games, [but] we haven’t done anything,” coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We won our first conference game — OK, we were supposed to. Now we’ve got a big conference game next week. It’s an ACC game, an intradivisional game, and it’s a big-time rival opponent. Let’s see what we do.”
If the Seminoles can defeat Clemson, they set themselves up to first battle for the ACC in December, and then potentially to make a run at a national title.
So far Fisher is pleased with the progress of his team, and it’s hard not to be with a defense that ranks first nationally in five categories and an offense that is No. 2 in the nation.
“We still have a lot of things we have to clean up, but I’m very proud of the progress that we’re making,” Fisher said. “We’re heading in the right direction, [but now] we have to get ready to play a very good Clemson team next week.”