Seminoles Hope To Return The Favor

By Adam Caparell - October 11, 2007


The worst home loss in Florida State history has been fresh on the mind of Bobby Bowden as his Seminoles head into their Thursday night matchup with Wake Forest.

It was 11 months ago that the Demon Deacons, ranked 18th in the country at the time, entered Tallahassee and left as the first team to shut out Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium in Bowden's 32 seasons as coach.

Wake Forest, of course, went on to unexpectedly win the ACC and an Orange Bowl appearance and their breakout season predictably has put everyone in the conference on alert this year.

"It used to be maybe you couldn't get up for Wake Forest like you could other teams, but that's no problem now," Bowden said. "That's no problem for any of us. We know what we're in for."

What Bowden can expect is another Jim Grobe led team that will capitalize on turnovers, precisely what killed the Seminoles in last year's game when they threw four picks. The Demon Deacons have taken back an interception for a touchdown in their last three games and have nine picks in five games.

So the onus will be on Xavier Lee, seemingly entrenched as the starter for the time being, to take care of the ball and keep the Florida State's offense rolling after it finally showed some signs of life the past few weeks.

"Athletically, we'll never face a better quarterback [than Lee]," Grobe said. "He runs really well. He's got a real strong arm. He's a big kid. He's a powerful runner. He breaks tackles well. He's a guy that, sometimes the worst thing you can do is to flush him out of the pocket and get him out in the open spaces where he's running with the football. So he presents a lot of problems for us. And that's the guy we're focusing on."

But can the Seminoles get their rushing attack going? The Seminoles are yet again struggling to get the ground game unhinged as Bowden waits for his offensive line to step up.

"I just don't think we're able right now to knock people off of the ball," Bowden said. "As far blocking them and reaching them and scooping them and all of that stuff, we probably do it better than we used to, but just to come up and knock people of the ball, we've got to get stronger there."

But for all the talk about Florida State's offense or the fact they're back in the Top 25 after dropping out, regardless of what anyone says, the storyline heading into this one is revenge. Before last season, Wake Forest had not beaten Florida State in Tallahassee since 1959 and it had been 33 years since their last victory over the Seminoles. Grobe knows it.

"I'm sure their players are out for a little revenge, and their talking it up as a game that they need to get back at Wake Forest," Grobe said.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:15 PM on October 11, 2007
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