June 21, 1999 - by
Wienke-less Noles Beat Wake Forest

November 14, 1998

Stats

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -(AP) Seven titles in the first seven years of
conference membership would leave most coaches ecstatic. Not Bobby Bowden.

“I’ve never been more frustrated in my life,” Bowden said after Mario
Edwards rescued sloppy Florida State with a school-record four interceptions,
sending the fifth-ranked Seminoles to a 24-7 victory over Wake Forest on
Saturday.

Edwards’ interceptions came on a day when the Seminoles had four turnovers,
14 penalties for 139 yards, were held to 3-and-outs six times and got sporadic
production from first-time starting quarterback Marcus Outzen.

“They got after us and stayed after us,” Bowden said of the Demon Deacons.
“It was all we could do to put 24 points on the board.”

The Seminoles had Edwards to thank for all of their points. His
interceptions set up every Florida State score.

“We knew we needed this if we wanted to win the ACC championship,” Edwards
said. “I just wanted to step up and do my best to help the team, but I never
figured on anything like this.”

Travis Minor rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns as the Seminoles (10-1,
7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) wrapped up at least a tie for their seventh
championship since joining the league in 1992. Even if Georgia Tech ties
Florida State atop the final ACC standings, a Bowl Championship Series spot
will go to the Seminoles, who defeated the Yellow Jackets.

The Demon Deacons (3-7, 2-6) were held to minus-30 yards rushing by the
nation’s top-rated defense and lost their fourth consecutive game. Wake Forest
quarterback Brian Kuklick completed just 11-of-41 passes and had three
intercepted.

“We’ve just got to play better offense if we’re going to stay in the game
with a team like that, because you’re just not going to really hold them below
24 points,” Wake Forest coach Jim Caldwell said.

The Demon Deacons had surrendered 174 points in their last three games
against Florida State. Even though Wake Forest did substantially better this
time, the Demon Deacons were held to one touchdown for the third consecutive
meeting.

“They have a way of just smothering you all over the field,” Caldwell
said.

Outzen, pressed into a starting role because of a season-ending neck injury
suffered by Chris Weinke, misfired on eight of his first 13 attempts but wound
up with 164 yards on 11-for-19 passing.

Outzen’s performance was overshadowed by what represented some rare on-field
news for Edwards, who was suspended from school last year after being charged
in separate cases with petty theft and hitting a former girlfriend. Edwards
rejoined the Seminoles this season as a junior, but he had just one career
interception before Saturday.

“I’m really happy for him,” Bowden said. “Ever since he came back, from
the first day of practice in August, he really has been on top of his game. And
he’s benefiting from that right now. This is a result of hard work.”

The Seminoles spent the first third of the game giving every indication that
their focus wasn’t the Demon Deacons but next week’s showdown against No. 4
Florida. After five possessions on a cool, drizzly night, the Seminoles had one
first down, two completed passes, one turnover and seven penalties for 71
yards.

But Edwards intercepted two passes in the second quarter, and the Seminoles
converted them into a 1-yard scoring plunge by Outzen and a 32-yard field goal
by Sebastian Janikowski, his ACC-record 24th field goal of the season.

A play that could have given Edwards a fifth interception wound up being
Wake Forest’s lone score. Edwards and teammate Derrick Gibson collided and fell
down while rushing to intercept an underthrown pass. The ball landed in the
hands of wide receiver Jammie Deese, who raced untouched for a 56-yard
touchdown that made it 10-7 early in the third quarter.

But two more interceptions by Edwards set up a pair of scoring runs by
Minor, pushing Florida State’s lead to 17 with 12:19 left in the game.

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