Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 9/10/12
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Florida State had beaten Wake Forest 14 straight years, beginning in 1992 when the Seminoles joined the Atlantic Coast Conference. And they won most of those games by double digits. But that all changed in 2006, when Wake Forest sent quite the message with a 30-0 win in Tallahassee. Since then, the Demon Deacons have taken four of six games from FSU. FSU vs. Wake Forest is surely far down the list of the top rivalries in the Atlantic Coast Conference. But maybe it shouldnt be. The No. 6 Seminoles open their ACC schedule on Saturday at home against Wake Forest, which used five turnovers and a safety to surprise FSU 35-30 in Winston-Salem, N.C., last year. But after the last six years, nothing Wake Forest does surprises any coach or player at FSU. They are much more athletic than people think, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. People think of that stigma, but Wake has good players. They are coached well. Dont beat themselves. Very well-coached football team. The Demon Deacons have 31 players from the state of Florida on their roster, including tailback Deandre Martin of Miami (who has two rushing TDs). And they recruited Texas well, too, landing quarterback Tanner Price, a 3,000-yard passer last year, and standout defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock. Price is a polished passer who has thrown for 522 yards and completed 65.2 percent of his passes in wins over Liberty and North Carolina this season. Hes the real deal, Fisher said. He can make plays. Accurate. Very good arm. Keeps plays alive with his feet. Hes a really good football player. And while Wake is short on receiving depth, Price has made a strong connection with junior wide receiver Michael Campanaro (22 catches for 260 yards). The defense hasnt been stellar for Wake, which is 2-0 despite allowing Liberty and UNC to accumulate a combined 791 yards on offense. But Wake coach Jim Grobe always seems to squeeze the most out of his roster and produce wins from a group of veteran players that know his system well. Experienced team a lot of redshirt juniors and seniors in the mix, Fisher said. People overlook that. I call it the Butler Syndrome of basketball you get older guys that know how to play and play together very well, understand the system, they understand how to win. And when you get older, you get smarter and tougher. The loss to Wake last year dropped FSU to 2-3 and lit a fire within the players. They responded to win seven of eight games the rest of the season and finished 9-4. FSU had allowed 128 rushing yards to Wake, and was humbled after giving up 35 points on consecutive weeks to Clemson and Wake. But after the loss to Wake, the Seminoles allowed just a 100-yard rushing game to Miami in the final eight games of 2011. While the first two games of this season have come against Football Championship Series teams, there are signs that this FSU team is more disciplined. FSU, while playing numerous second- and third-team players, has had just five penalties and two turnovers through the first two weeks. We are very pleased with it, Fisher said. Penalties and turnovers, they affect the game. Self-inflicted wounds things that I hope we can continue to eliminate. FSU cruised past FCS teams like Murray State and Savannah State. But the Seminoles also played smart football. Now they have to do it when the schedule heats up against teams that will make them pay for their mistakes.
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