Florida State at Wake Forest

Noles wallop Wake Forest, tie school record with six picks

CBSSports.com wire reports

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- No. 3 Florida State finally discovered a defense that can cool off Jameis Winston and the Seminoles' high-powered offense.

Its own.

Florida State tied a school record with six interceptions, returned turnovers for touchdowns on consecutive plays and gave the offense short fields throughout a 59-3 rout of Wake Forest on Saturday that clinched a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.

Nate Andrews took an interception 56 yards for a touchdown one play before Jalen Ramsey returned a fumble 23 yards for another score, keeping the yardage down but pumping the point total way up.

"For us to be a great team, both [offense and defense] have got to be clicking," Winston said. "When they're getting turnovers and scoring touchdowns just like that, sometimes it is hard [to stay in a rhythm] but obviously, I've got to do a better job of commanding the team and leading us."

The Seminoles (9-0, 7-0) claimed the inside track to a BCS title game berth with No. 2 Oregon's loss Thursday. They kept firm grasp of it by forcing seven turnovers and breaking the stadium record of 56 points they set in 1994.

"Everything's falling into place now," defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. said, "like [coach Jimbo Fisher] said it would."

Winston threw two touchdown passes while leading an offense that gained just 296 total yards -- well off its ACC-leading average of 549.

Fisher said the offense "on the day did not play as well" but that was largely because the defense and special teams put up the points and regularly gave the Seminoles short fields.

Florida State held Wake Forest (4-6, 2-5) to 166 total yards and turned those turnovers into five TDs and a field goal.

Winston was 17 of 28 for 159 yards in two-plus quarters with an 18-yard TD to Kelvin Benjamin and a 2-yarder to Chad Abram that made it 42-0 at halftime.

James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman had early scoring runs 50 seconds apart. The Seminoles, 35-point favorites, scored their first three touchdowns in a 5:05 span of the first quarter.

Chad Hedlund's 23-yard field goal with 9:07 left helped the Demon Deacons avoid being shut out for the second straight week and for the third time in four meetings with Florida State.

Kermit Whitfield returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for the TD that gave the Seminoles the BB&T Field scoring record.

Wake Forest's first two quarterbacks, Tanner Price and Tyler Cameron, combined for six completions and 66 yards passing.

Price threw three interceptions on four attempts before he was pulled. The first two were returned into the red zone and Andrews took the third back for a score.

"Today," coach Jim Grobe said, "was just a comedy of errors."

In matching the team record of six interceptions set against Louisville in 1991, Florida State proved there was no Hurricane hangover for these Seminoles after routing rival Miami 41-14 last week.

Now the challenge the rest of the way might be to avoid boredom: Boston College is the only team to either hang within 14 points of the Seminoles or score more than 17 points against them. Nobody has held them to fewer than 41 points, either.

None of their final four opponents entered this week with a winning record.

"If they ever believe in our system, if they ever believe in eliminating the clutter," Fisher said, "then now is the time."

They're headed to the ACC title game for the third time in four years and had little trouble claiming the voter-impressing blowout that kept them in the thick of the national championship race.

After they went 80 yards in 13 plays on their first drive -- capped by Wilder's 5-yard touchdown run that made it 7-0 -- the Seminoles ran only four offensive plays while stretching their lead to 35-0.

The Demon Deacons helped them out by giving them short fields with turnovers on four consecutive possessions.

"We were down 35-0, maybe, and I don't think the defense had hardly been on the field," Grobe said.

That included a remarkable effort by Edwards, who somehow pulled in the second interception of Price while being bear-hugged by Wake Forest offensive tackle Josh T. Harris.

Winston found Benjamin over the middle for a touchdown two plays later, and the defensive scores came quickly after that.

"We start stopping the offense and turning the ball over, it gives you momentum and it kills their momentum and makes them not want to play anymore," Edwards said.

Wake Forest, which didn't advance deeper than the Syracuse 42 in a 13-0 defeat last week and lost go-to receiver Michael Campanaro to a broken collarbone, didn't get past the Florida State 44 until the fourth quarter.

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Florida State fans show their appreciation for Stanford's defeat of No. 2 Oregon, clearing BCS path for the Seminoles.  (USATSI)
Florida State fans show their appreciation for Stanford's defeat of No. 2 Oregon, clearing BCS path for the Seminoles. (USATSI)

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Scoring Summary
FSUJames Wilder 5 yd run (Roberto Aguayo kick)
FSUDevonta Freeman 1 yd run (Roberto Aguayo kick)
FSUKelvin Benjamin 18 yd pass from Jameis Winston (Roberto Aguayo kick)
FSUNate Andrews 56 yd interception return (Roberto Aguayo kick)
FSUJalen Ramsey 23 yd fumble return (Roberto Aguayo kick)
FSUChad Abram 2 yd pass from Jameis Winston (Roberto Aguayo kick)
FSUKarlos Williams 5 yd run (Roberto Aguayo kick)
FSURoberto Aguayo 42 yd FG
WAKEChad Hedlund 23 yd FG
FSULevonte Whitfield 97 yd kick return (Roberto Aguayo kick)
Team Stats
First Downs198
Third Down Efficiency5-155-17
Fourth Down Efficiency0-10-0
Plays-Net Yards73-29665-166
Passing Yds20763
Kick Return Yds10137
Punt Return Yds2025
Time of Poss.28:5831:2
Individual Stats
FSU: Karlos Williams 12-49, James Wilder 6-49, Devonta Freeman 6-11, Rashad Greene 1-9, Jameis Winston 3-4, Ryan Green 3--2, Sean Maguire 1--7, Jacob Coker 2--24
WAKE: Josh Harris 15-66, Dominique Gibson 16-35, Joshua Wilhite 5-8, Team 1--1, Tyler Cameron 3--5
FSU: Jameis Winston 17-28-159-1, Jacob Coker 4-9-37-0, Sean Maguire 1-2-11-0
WAKE: Tyler Cameron 5-19-63-3, Tanner Price 1-4-3-3, Patrick Thompson 1-2--3-0
FSU: Rashad Greene 5-47, Nick O'Leary 3-37, Karlos Williams 3-21, Christian Green 2-24, Kelvin Benjamin 2-23, Chad Abram 2-18, Shayne Broxsie 1-12, Christian Jones 1-11, Jesus Wilson 1-11, Kenny Shaw 1-4, Devonta Freeman 1--1
WAKE: Tyree Harris 2-0, John Armstrong 1-20, Dominique Gibson 1-16, Julian Thomas-Jackson 1-14, Jared Crump 1-10, Sherman Ragland 1-3
Florida State3rd Atlantic Coast Atlantic5-310-3
Wake Forest4th Atlantic Coast Atlantic3-57-6

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