Florida State stock report after Week 9 victory vs. Wake Forest
The No. 4 Florida State Seminoles had their strongest road performance of the season with a 41-16 win over Wake Forest on Saturday. Florida State sent its final message to the College Football Playoff committee days before the first CFP rankings are released. The Seminoles (8-0, 6-0) have won 14 straight and scored at least 30 points in all 14 of those games.
Florida State scored on the first drive of the game — a 13-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jordan Travis — and never looked back. The Seminoles put together a 24-point effort in the second quarter and led 34-7 at halftime.
After a shaky road performance against Boston College in the third week of the season and needing overtime to beat Clemson at the end of September, it was important for the Seminoles to put a strong road victory on their résumé. This also marked the first win against Wake Forest in the Mike Norvell era.
Player of the Week: Jordan Travis
This was Travis’ signature performance thus far in the season. The sixth-year senior threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns while adding 29 yards and an another score on the ground. For the first time in several weeks it looked like Travis was fairly healthy and he was able to show off his full skill set. Everything was working for Travis — the deep ball, the running and the ability to create when plays got off schedule. Travis probably won’t be anyone’s favorite in the Heisman race at this point, but he’s getting close to earning an invite to New York City.
Developing trend: Pass-Rush Happy
The Florida State pass rush has been here and there from week-to-week, but on Saturday they were present and made life hell for Wake Forest quarterback Mitch Griffis. Jared Verse (two sacks) looked like the player we expect to be drafted in the top half of the first round. Patrick Payton (sack, 2.5 TFL) has also put himself in a position to go chase after NFL dreams after this season. Byron Turner Jr. (sack) and linebacker Kalen DeLoach (8 tackles, sack, 2.5 TFL) were also in the Wake Forest backfield creating havoc.
Biggest surprise: WR Depth
The Seminoles showed off their depth at wide receiver Saturday. With Johnny Wilson unavailable, it wasn’t just the Keon Coleman show. Coleman (seven catches, 66 yards, two touchdowns) still had a big game, but it was good to see veteran playmakers Ja’Khi Douglas (two catches, 36 yards) and Kentron Poitier (catch, 33 yards) finally get some touches in the offense. Both players had been dealing with some injuries that kept them on the back of the depth chart, but their health could be important to the FSU passing game down the stretch.
Biggest concern: Strength of schedule
The rest of the ACC seems to be falling apart and it’s leaving the Seminoles without a signature conference win. Clemson is .500 and might not make a bowl. Duke might not be in the CFP initial Top 25 rankings after a 23-0 loss to Louisville. Miami is hanging in there at 6-2, but North Carolina has gone from a potential top 10 opponent in the ACC Championship Game to another underachieving Tar Heels squad. It looks like FSU-Louisville is the best game the ACC can hope for, so Seminole fans should hope the Cardinals can keep pace as the other teams competing for those CFP slots still have major games ahead of them.
First impression about Week 10 at Pitt:
The Seminoles can concern themselves with what other teams do, so the focus should be on kicking an overmatched Pitt while the Panthers are down. A win on Saturday will clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game for the Seminoles. It will be their first trip to Charlotte since 2014 and a chance to re-take control of a conference that Clemson has owned for the better part of a decade. It’s hard to say what kind of Pitt team the Seminoles will see. It is the team that handed Louisville its only loss of the season or the one that just got rolled 58-7 at Notre Dame. The expectation will be that Florida State should win vs. an overmatched opponent that’s limping to the finish line