The Demon Deacons (2-0) have narrow victories over Liberty and North Carolina, while the fifth-ranked Seminoles (2-0) own lopsided wins over lower-division opponents, including a bizarre weather-shortened 55-0 rout of Savannah State on Saturday. Tanner Price, who threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns in last year's win over the Seminoles, ran for a pair of touchdowns and completed 27 of 38 passes for a career-high 327 yards against the Tar Heels. His favorite target, Michael Campanaro, had 13 catches for 164 yards and was the ACC's pick as receiver of the week. However, Florida State ranks second nationally in most defensive categories and quarterback EJ Manuel is sixth in passing efficiency, although he's played a total of a little more than three quarters. His main target has been sophomore Clint Trickett. Trickett, a local product from Tallahassee, has caught 183 yards so far through two games, after receiving 675 yards last year as a frosh. A whopping 15 players have already caught a pass for the Seminoles. Kenny Shaw (seven catches, 112 yards, TD), Kelvin Benjamin (six catches, 96 yards, two TDs) and Rodney Smith (five catches, 81 yards, TDs) appear to also be the team's go-to guys.
Florida State returned nine starters on defense this season, including the entire front four, from a unit that limited foes to 275 YPG last year. So the 'Noles are going to be hard to move the ball on again. With their victories the Seminoles have moved up from No. 7 in the AP pre-season poll to No. 6 last week to No. 5 this week. Florida State turned the ball over five times in last year's meeting, and that's something the Seminoles will need to correct if they want the outcome to be different this time around. However, Wake Forest's defense is considerably undersized and figures to have trouble slowing the Florida State attack.
This is a big revenge game for Florida State, which lost 35-30 at Wake Forest last year as -10 point road favs. One significant advantage the Noles will have is that Wake Forest all-conference nose guard Nikita Whitlock will miss the game after sustaining an ankle sprain against the Tar Heels. Freshman Tyler Harris (245 pounds) took over for Whitlock after the injury and UNC's running game was much better. Wake did show some 4-3 but mostly stayed in the 3-4. Whitlock has not practiced this week and Grobe said he would be a game time decision. A high ankle sprain, which is what Whitlock is said to have, should make him a step slow so look for FSU to test him early and often if he does play. Whether Witlock plays or not, FSU's offensive line needs to have good communication and understand where Wake is bringing pressure. This will allow FSU to keep Wake's linebackers out of the backfield and allow the guards to get to the second level.
While Wake is more than capable of keeping this one close during the season's first conference rivalry, FSU's front seven displays quickness and agility which could make things tough for Price. Florida State has a firm handle on the all-time series with Wake Forest, going 23-6-1, with 16 of those wins coming at home. The Seminoles shut out the Deacons the last time the teams met in Tallahassee, 31-0, in 2010. Florida State was practically able to walk through its first two opponents, and now has to buckle down for a more formidable foe in this ACC opener. FSU has too many explosive playmakers on both sides of the ball to slip up here. Best of luck however you play!