Oct. 23, 2004
By JENNA FRYER
AP Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Xavier Beitia kicked a 22-yard field goal with 1:03
to play to help No. 5 Florida State pull off a surprisingly close 20-17 victory
over Wake Forest on Saturday.
Seminoles quarterback Wyatt Sexton had a tough day, committing three turnovers that nearly cost Florida State (6-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast
Conference) the game.
He helped Wake Forest build a 14-3 lead before halftime with an interception
and a fumble, and both turnovers were returned for touchdowns.
After pushing the Seminoles ahead with touchdown passes of 20- and 46-yards,
Sexton gave Wake Forest another chance late in the fourth quarter when he
foolishly attempted a pass that was tipped by Jerome Nichols and intercepted by
freshman Jeremy Thompson.
That set up Ryan Plackemeir’s 41-yard field goal that tied the game at 17
with 4:32 to play.
Wake Forest (3-4, 0-4) dropped another close one to remain winless in
conference play. The Demon Deacons have not been easy opponent, though, taking
Clemson and North Carolina State into overtime and battling down to the wire
against Virginia Tech and the Seminoles.
Despite the miscues, Sexton improved to 4-0 as a starter since taking over
for Chris Rix. He finished 17-for-39 for 194 yards, two touchdowns, two
interceptions and a fumble.
It was clear early Sexton wasn’t going to have the same kind of day he did
last week when he completed 20 of 26 passes for a career-high 275 yards in the
Seminoles’ dismantling of Virginia.
He got off to a bad start when he was called for intentional grounding on
the third play of the game, and it just got worse from there. Nichols had the
first of his two tipped passes late in the first quarter and Matt Robinson
intercepted it, returning it 19 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Wake Forest
Sexton later fumbled on a sack by Eric King, and Brad White scooped the ball
up and rumbled 36 yards for a touchdown that put Wake Forest up 14-3 right
But Wyatt got some third-quarter help from Willie Reid, who returned a punt
48 yards to the Wake Forest 14. After Booker lost yards on a fumble, the
Seminoles went to Reid to put points on the board with a 20-yard touchdown pass
from Sexton that cut Wake Forest’s lead to 14-10.
Sexton wasn’t able to give Florida State’s its first lead of the game until
the fourth quarter, when he threw a 46 yard touchdown pass to Robinson to put
the Seminoles up 17-14 with 9:59 to go.
Wake Forest, averaging 221.7 yards rushing a game, struggled against the
nation’s best run defense.
Florida State held the Deacons to 133 yards on the ground.
Beitia also made a 44-yarders, but had a blocked field goal in the first
quarter when Thompson, making his first career start, got a hand on the 38-yard
Plackemeier also missed a 39-yarder.
Wake Forest’s Jason Anderson had six catches for 99 yards to become the only
active player in the ACC to go over 2,000 yards receiving.