Defense Forces Seven Turnovers in 12-3 Wake Forest Victory

Sept. 20, 2008

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Wake Forest defense forced seven turnovers and Sam Swank made a career-high four field goals as No. 18 Wake Forest (3-0, 1-0 ACC) defeated No. 24 Florida State (2-1, 0-1 ACC) 12-3 on Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium.

The Wake Forest defense was stifling all game, forcing seven turnovers and allowing only three points. In the last two games Wake Forest has played in Tallahassee, the Deacons have outscored the Seminoles 42-3.

Aaron Curry led the defense with eight tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception. Kevin Patterson had two interceptions, a forced fumble and six tackles. Brandon Ghee also added six tackles and forced a fumble.

The four field goals made and seven field goals attempted were both career highs for Swank. Swank converted from 48, 29, 49 and 31 yards respectively.

Offensively, Riley Skinner finished the game 17-of-29 for 217 yards. Marshall Williams caught three passes for 57 yards, while Andrew Parker made two catches for 55 yards. Josh Adams had 66 yards on 18 carries.

After the Wake Forest offense opened the game with a three and out, the Deacon defense stepped up big on its first play of the game. Senior cornerback Alphonso Smith intercepted Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder, returning the ball 18 yards to the Florida State 45 to set Wake up with great field position.

On the ensuing drive, Wake Forest picked up its first first down of the contest on a five-yard run by D.J. Boldin. The Deacons were unable to convert another first down and settled for a 48-yard field goal attempt by Sam Swank. Swank sent the ball through the uprights for his 10th consecutive field goal made to give Wake a 3-0 advantage with 11:18 remaining in the first quarter.

The Deacon defense forced their second turnover in as many drives after Brandon Ghee forced a fumble from Antone Smith. Curry recovered the fumble at the Seminole 27-yard line to set the Wake Forest offense up in great field position. It appeared that the Deacons had scored on a touchdown pass from Skinner to Marshall Williams on a 3rd and 12 from the Seminole 15, but a holding call negated the touchdown. Wake Forest was forced to attempt another field goal attempt and Swank's kick from 27 yards sailed wide right.

After the Florida State offense went three and out, the Deacon offense moved the ball again, but came away with no points. On a third-down play, Skinner hit Marshall Williams on a 52-yard pass play down the left sideline to the Florida State 25-yard line. The 52-yard completion was the longest by a Deacon since Jordan Williams caught a 65-yard pass against NC State on November 17, 2007. Brandon Pendergrass rushed for a loss of nine yards and Skinner was sacked to take the Deacons out of field goal range and force a punt.

The Seminoles forced a turnover of their own on Wake's first drive of the second quarter. The Deacons opened the drive with a 20-yard pass from Skinner to Devon Brown. After a 5-yard false start penalty and a 2-yard loss by Pendergrass, Skinner was sacked by Kendall Smith, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Tony Carter and returned 19 yards to the Wake Forest 33. A 15-yard personal foul penalty on FSU on the return brought the ball back to the Florida State 33.

Florida State was unable to convert the turnover into points. The Seminoles picked up two first downs on the drive, including an 18-yard run by Ponder. The drive stalled at the Deacon 34-yard line, forcing a 52-yard field goal opportunity from Graham Gano. The kick had the necessary distance, but went wide left to maintain a 3-0 Wake Forest lead.

Wake Forest was able to move the ball again on the next drive. The Deacons picked up two first downs on the first two plays of the drive, both coming off Skinner pass completions. Wake Forest advanced the ball to the Florida State 10-yard line. The Deacons tried to convert a fourth and one, but Skinner's pass was deflected by Kenny Ingram, ending the possession.

The next Florida State drive ended with their third turnover of the game. On third and 18, Ponder threw his second interception of the game as Patterson intercepted the ball at the Seminole 49 and returned it 32 yards to the Florida State 17. The Deacons failed to capitalize again as Skinner fumbled the ball on a quarterback scramble. Skinner ran down the left sideline, advancing to the two-yard line before Jamie Robinson forced the fumble, which was recovered by Korey Mangum.

Backed up near their own goal line, the Seminoles used two quarterback sneaks to run out the second quarter clock.

Wake Forest extended its lead to 6-0 on its first drive of the second half with a nine-play drive that spanned 64 yards and took 3:06 off the clock. The Deacons opened the drive with a first down on a 12-yard pass from Skinner to Mike Rinfrette. Josh Adams followed that up with a first down of his own on the next play on a 14-yard run to midfield. On a second and 10 from the Florida State 37, Skinner hit Parker on a 22-yard pass. The Deacons were unable to punch the ball into the endzone, forcing the third field goal attempt of the night by Swank. His kick from 29 yards out split the uprights, giving Wake a 6-0 lead with 10:29 remaining in the third quarter.

Florida State got on the scoreboard for the first time on its next drive. D'Vontrey Richardson, who came in for Ponder, completed four passes on the drive, advancing the Seminoles to the Deacon 20-yard line. The Wake Forest defense stiffened up from there, forcing a Florida State field goal attempt. Gano's field goal from 37 yards was good, cutting the Wake Forest lead to 6-3 with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter.

Wake Forest answered the Seminole field goal with one of its own on the following drive. The key play in the possession came on a 2nd and 7 from the Deacon 19-yard line. Skinner completed a 33-yard pass to Parker to the Seminole 48-yard line. A 15-yard personal foul penalty on Florida State moved the ball to the 33-yard line. The Deacons were unable to get another first down, setting the stage for another Swank field goal, this time from 49 yards out. The kick from Swank was good, giving the Deacons a 9-3 lead with 4:31 left in the third quarter.

After the Wake Forest defense forced a three and out, the Deacon offense moved the ball down the field, aided by penalties from the Florida State defense. The Seminoles committed three penalties for 35 yards on the possession, including a 15-yard face mask penalty on a sack that would have ended the drive. The Wake offense stalled again, forcing the fifth field goal attempt of the night by Swank. His kick from 48 yards went wide left, keeping the score at 9-3.

Florida State picked up a couple of first downs on its next drive before the opportunistic Wake Forest defense forced its fourth turnover of the night. On a 2nd and 10 at the Wake Forest 40-yard line, the Seminoles attempted a reverse to Preston Parker. Patterson knocked the ball loose from Parker and Michael Carter recovered the fumble to give the ball back to the Deacon offense.

Wake Forest was unable to take advantage of the turnover, going three and out and punting the ball back to Florida State.

The Seminoles opened the following drive at their own 31-yard line. On a 3rd and 5 at the 36, Richardson completed a 21-yard pass to Taiwan Easterling to the Wake Forest 43. Florida State advanced the ball to the Deacon 37 and elected to go for it on 4th and 4. Alphonso Smith batted down the pass from Richardson to end the drive and give the ball back to the Wake Forest offense.

After a Wake Forest punt, the Deacon defense forced its fifth turnover of the night on the first play of the next drive. Patterson picked off his second pass of the night at the Seminole 44-yard line and returned the ball 22 yards to the Florida State 22.

Once again, the Wake Forest offense was unable to convert the turnover into points. The offense went three and out, advancing the ball seven yards to the Florida State 15-yard line. Swank pulled a 32 yard field goal wide left to keep the score at 9-3.

Richardson threw his third interception of the night on the first play of the ensuing drive. Curry intercepted the ball at the Florida State 33 and returned it 22 yards to the 11-yard line.

Wake Forest converted the interception into three points to stretch the lead to 12-3. The offense was not able to get a first down, setting up Swank's career-high seventh field goal attempt of the game. Swank nailed a 31-yard field goal for his career high fourth field goal of the night.

The Deacon defense closed out the game in appropriate fashion, recording its seventh turnover of the night. Ponder's pass was intercepted by Chip Vaughn to seal the Deacon victory.

Wake Forest is back in action next weekend, hosting the Midshipmen of Navy. Opening kickoff from BB&T Field is slated for 3:45 p.m. (ET) and the game will be televised by ESPNU.



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