FSU Football 2022 Opponent Preview: Wake Forest
Wake Forest wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson (5) celebrates scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Duke on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Winston-Salem, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)

FSU Football 2022 Opponent Preview: Wake Forest

Florida State must fend off an Atlantic division contender in Wake Forest.

With the season fast approaching, and college football rolling full-steam ahead with current scheduling and formatting, fans are eager to hit the stands and cheer on their favorite team. 2022 is a do-or-die season for Mike Norvell’s tenure at Florida State. While there was much to be proud of in FSU’s 2021 campaign, the 0-4 record, including a shocking loss to Jacksonville State, has left many speculating whether Norvell is the man for the job. Winning more than 6 games this season might be what it takes to demonstrate that the CLIMB is more than just rhetoric on Norvell’s part. To generate a buzz and momentum on the trail, the Seminoles must showcase their growth in wins this season.

It’s now or never, and for the Seminole faithful, it’s time to preview our upcoming season’s opponents.

Game Five: Wake Forest

Head Coach: Dave Clawson (HC Record 141-127)

Mascot: Demon Deacon

Conference: ACC

2021 Record: 11-3

History vs Florida State: 

The series between the Demon Deacons and the Seminoles is a lopsided affair. Wake Forest has only won eight games of the thirty-nine played. In the pre-Bowden era, the Seminoles maintained a 7-2-1 series lead. The first game between these two teams resulted in a tie, 14-14, in 1956. Since 1992, the Seminoles have established a commanding 23-6 series lead. The two most recent games, played in 2019 and 2021 respectively, were Wake Forest victories. Five of Wake’s eight total wins against Florida State came in Winston-Salem, NC.

Wake Forest Storylines to Follow

Yet Another Atlantic QB

What’s an opponent preview without talking about another top quarterback in the Atlantic division? Sam Hartman, the quarterback who led Wake Forest to the Atlantic division title in 2021, is back and primed for yet another stellar season. Passing for 4,228 yards last season, Sam Hartman is secured behind a talented offensive line. While they lose their top tackle in Zack Tom, the offensive line sees the return of seventh-year senior Je’Vionte’ Nash, as well as Sean Maginn, Loic Ngassam Nya, Michael Jurgens, and DeVonte Gordon.

Returning offensive production also includes receivers Donavon Greene, A.T. Perry, Taylor Morin, and Ke’Shawn Williams, TE Blake Whiteheart, and RBs Justice Ellison and Christian Turner.

Lacking Depth

Of the talent noted above, there is no proven talent behind any position. Additionally, with the departure of talents such as Zack Tom, Brandon Chapman, and Jaquarii Roberson, some of the key components to Wake’s run in 2021 are now gone. The challenge will be determining the depth pieces to fill the void should injuries begin to affect the starting lineup.

Questions on Defense

New defensive coordinator Brad Lambert has some work cut out for him. In 2021, Wake’s defense allowed more than 42 points in five games, forcing the offense to bail them out of nearly half of their games last season. They were susceptible to the run in 2021, and are once again vulnerable at the linebacker position. While there is senior production returning, the actual talent itself remains more of a question mark rather than an asset on defense. However, that production is the best they have at the position, as the talent behind them is entirely unproven. The defensive end position is covered in one area by Rondell Bothroyd but is in flux at the other end. Jasheen Davis is inconsistent at the position, and Jacorey Johns is the only other potential talent at the position. Similar to the issues on offense with lacking depth, the secondary can prove to be a positive on defense if it can stay healthy.

Gameday Details

The Seminoles will play against the Demon Deacons at Doak Campbell on Saturday, October 1st, 2022. The game broadcast and time remain TBD. Florida State fans can purchase tickets directly from Seminoles.com.

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-Ed Kennedy