Oct. 8, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Greg Carr is making a name for himself in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The true freshman caught a 63-yard pass to set up the first of three fourth-quarter scores, helping No. 4 Florida State beat pesky Wake Forest 41-24 Saturday.
“We had them on the ropes,” said Wake Forest tailback Chris Barclay, whose 31-yard touchdown run pulled his team to 20-17 late in the third quarter. “We had a good chance of upsetting these guys.”
Following the score, Florida State (5-0, 3-0 ACC) was deep in its own territory, a play away from having to punt.
“I was concerned it was slipping away from us,” Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. “I was very concerned.”
And the game was in the hands of freshmen.
Faced with a third-and-15 at his own 21, redshirt freshman Drew Weatherford escaped a heavy rush and threw the ball long for the 6-foot-6 Carr, who caught it near midfield and ran to the Wake Forest 16 for his big gain – on his 20th birthday.
“You don’t see many 6-6 receivers who can jump like he can,” Weatherford said. “It’s kind of like a bail out for 50 yards down the field. I just threw it up and he made a play.”
Wake Forest (2-4, 1-2) knew its upset hopes had ended.
“It was the back breaker,” Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith said.
“Kind of like a gut punch, it took the air out of us,” Barclay agreed. “He’s so tall, it’s hard to match up.”
On the next play, Weatherford found Fred Rouse for a 16-yard score to give Florida State a 27-17 lead.
“As you can see, man, we’re doing it,” said Rouse, also a true freshman who handles some punt return duties as well.
Leon Washington, who ran for 87 yards and added another 92 yards on four catches, agreed.
“They’re doing a great job,” Washington said. “We haven’t had freshmen like that in a long time.”
Florida State scored on a long swing pass on its next drive when Washington went 61 yards for a 34-17 lead. The same play worked a week earlier when Lorenzo Booker went 71 yards for a score.
Backup quarterback Xavier Lee scored the final touchdown for the Seminoles with 5:38 left.
Carr, who is averaging almost 30 yards a catch this season, caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Weatherford in the first quarter for his fifth TD catch of the season.
Weatherford threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another as the offense rolled up 585 yards and 27 first downs. He completed 20 of 31 passes and also scored on a 1-yard run that gave Florida State a 7-0 lead.
“We’re not maxed out,” said Bowden, who hiked his Division I-A career-best victory total to 356. “The best is still ahead of us.”
But Florida State’s nationally ranked defense struggled all day against the pesky Demon Deacons. Though the Seminoles never trailed, they were in trouble heading into the last quarter.
Wake Forest rolled up 415 yards of its own.
Barclay, the ACC’s leading rusher, finished with 125 yards against a rush defense that was ranked sixth nationally.
Wake Forest scored with 20 seconds left in the game on a 1-yard run by Kevin Marion, who scored its first touchdown on a 67-yard run.
Florida State’s victory came with a price. The Seminoles lost senior guard Matt Meinrod, arguably their best offensive lineman, when he broke his fibula and dislocated the ankle on his left leg in the third quarter. School officials said he’ll have surgery next week.