Less than two weeks after taking a top-10 Notre Dame to overtime, possibly announcing its return to relevance in the process, Florida State slipped to a new low Saturday with a 35-14 loss at Wake Forest. The defeat dropped the Seminoles to 0-3 for the first time since 1976, Bobby Bowden's first season as coach.
Florida State quarterbacks McKenzie Milton and Jordan Travis combined for three interceptions to go along with three team fumbles in the loss to the Demon Deacons, but that was only one of the problems. The FSU offense averaged just 3.2 yards per rush against a Wake Forest run defense that ranked 11th in the ACC last season.
Above all, the Seminoles failed to bounce back from last week's embarrassing, last-second loss to FCS foe Jacksonville State.
Second-year Florida State coach Mike Norvell falls to 3-9 in his short time with the program, putting him behind the pace of his predecessor ,Willie Taggart, who was fired midway through his second season on the job while sporting a 9-12 record.
Florida State hosts Louisville next week, but it has a long way to go if it is going to mirror the progress made the last time the program started 0-3. The 1976 team won five of its final eight games as Bowden began to turn the program around, building it from irrelevance into the national power it has been for much of the last four decades.
Wake Forest, on the other hand, may have one of its best teams yet under eighth-year coach Dave Clawson. The Demon Deacons are 3-0 and enjoying the benefits of continuity on offense. With nearly every starter back from a group that averaged 36 points per game last season, Clawson's offense passed its first test against a conference foe by racking up 484 yards. The Demon Deacons play at Virginia on Friday.