Manuel helps Florida State beats Wake Forest 41-28Nov 14, 2009 - 10:31 PM By MIKE CRANSTON AP Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.(AP) -- The 80-year-old embattled coach was sitting in a golf cart and upbeat moments after his redshirt freshman quarterback kept their bowl hopes alive.
Not far away, the opposing team's redshirt senior quarterback was overcome with emotion.
A good day for Bobby Bowden, EJ Manuel and Florida State meant a tearful final home game and bowl elimination for Riley Skinner and Wake Forest Saturday, with the Seminoles' 41-28 victory perhaps marking a change in the Atlantic Coast Conference's quarterback hierarchy.
Manuel, the highly touted recruit out of Virginia Beach, Va., threw for a touchdown and ran for another in his first career start. Jermaine Thomas helped out by rushing for 149 yards and a touchdown as the Seminoles (5-5, 3-4) moved closer to extending their nation-best 27-year bowl streak.
With his future uncertain, Bowden had to enjoy watching Manuel fill in capably for the injured Christian Ponder - and hear Seminoles fans chant Bowden's name in the closing minutes.
"Manuel passed the test," Bowden said. "You still never know the answer until they get into a contest. I thought from the first play on, he showed a lot of poise."
Manuel completed 15 of 20 passes for 220 yards and an interception, outplaying Skinner as the Demon Deacons (4-7, 2-5) fell behind 31-7 in the second quarter. Wake's fifth straight loss ending a school-record streak of three straight bowl games.
The good times at Wake began in Skinner's freshman year. And after struggling with his accuracy and throwing two interceptions, Skinner put his face in his hands and started crying after the game.
"It's just crazy to think about," Skinner said, eyes red and sniffling. "It's been 4 1/2 years and I never thought it would come to an end like this."
Wake Forest got within 31-21 early in the third quarter on Kevin Harris' 12-yard touchdown run from the wildcat formation. But the Demon Deacons got no closer as they struggled to contain the run game.
Thomas became Florida State's first back since 2002 to go over 100 yards three straight games. It was part of a new-look offense that included more pitches, option play and quarterback runs to take advantage of Manuel's skills.
"All of the coaches supported me, the O-line, the running backs, the defense," said Manuel, pressed into duty when Ponder suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last week. "Christian - that meant a lot to me - him supporting me."
Manuel, Ty Jones and Thomas each had touchdown runs and Greg Reid a 68-yard punt return for a score to give Florida State a 31-14 halftime lead against Wake's beleaguered defense.
Free safety Josh Bush (illness) didn't dress, then cornerback Brandon Ghee was lost to a concussion. Strong safety Cyhl Quarles left with a concussion, too, after his helmet was popped off on a vicious hit from Jarmon Fortson on Manuel's lone interception.
Manuel's 7-yard touchdown pass to Fortson made it 41-21 early in the fourth quarter.
Skinner was off most for the day, overthrowing receivers despite facing the ACC's worst defense that had given up 40 or more points in three of the past four games. Kendall Smith picked him off in the first half, setting up a short field and a Florida State's third touchdown.
Skinner was intercepted again in the end zone by Ochuko Jenije midway through the fourth quarter. The record-setting QB finished 25 of 40 for 227 yards, including a 4-yard TD pass to Chris Givens late in the fourth quarter. It was Skinner's 21st TD of the season, tying the school record.
Josh Adams rushed for two first-half TDs in a somber day for 22 Wake seniors.
"Certainly our seniors are disappointed because they had a little bit to live up to after last three years," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said.
Wake Forest had beaten Florida State three straight times by allowing 24 combined points, a number the Seminoles eclipsed Saturday with 3:40 left in the second quarter.
Now Florida State can qualify for a bowl if its freshman QB can lead another victory next week over Maryland.
"It's doggone impressive," Bowden said. "That's a freshman."
- NCAAF FINAL
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
FLORIDAST 14 17 3 7 41
WAKEFOREST 7 7 7 7 28 FINAL
1ST QUARTER: FLORIDA ST - TD, TY JONES 9 YD RUN (DUSTIN
HOPKINS KICK), 5:36.
WAKE FORES - TD, JOSH ADAMS 3 YD RUN (JIMMY
NEWMAN KICK), 12:17.
FLORIDA ST - TD, JERMAINE THOMA
Nov 14 3:16 PM
WAKEFOREST 28 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Nov 14 3:16 PM
WAKEFOREST 28 3:01 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Florida State 41, Wake Forest 28 4th - 3:01Nov 14 3:05 PM
WAKEFOREST 21 11:04 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Florida State 41, Wake Forest 21 4th - 11:04Nov 14 2:49 PM
WAKEFOREST 21 0:00 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Nov 14 2:35 PM
WAKEFOREST 21 4:01 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Florida State 34, Wake Forest 21 3rd - 4:01Nov 14 2:23 PM
WAKEFOREST 21 6:57 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Florida State 31, Wake Forest 21 3rd - 6:57Nov 14 2:15 PM
WAKEFOREST 14 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Nov 14 1:31 PM
WAKEFOREST 14 2:12 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Florida State 31, Wake Forest 14 2nd - 2:12Nov 14 1:20 PM
WAKEFOREST 7 3:40 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Florida State 31, Wake Forest 7 2nd - 3:40Nov 14 1:13 PM
WAKEFOREST 7 4:52 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Florida State 24, Wake Forest 7 2nd - 4:52Nov 14 1:07 PM
WAKEFOREST 7 12:48 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Florida State 21, Wake Forest 7 2nd - 12:48Nov 14 12:48 PM
WAKEFOREST 7 0:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Nov 14 12:42 PM
WAKEFOREST 7 0:19 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Florida State 14, Wake Forest 7 1st - 0:19Nov 14 12:39 PM
WAKEFOREST 7 2:43 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Florida State 7, Wake Forest 7 1st - 2:43Nov 14 12:25 PM
WAKEFOREST 0 9:24 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Florida State 7, Wake Forest 0 1st - 9:24Nov 14 12:12 PM
- Clemson offense set to step forward, led by Deshaun Watson May 4
- Ohio university pays player $712K to settle concussion suit May 4
- FSU student reps: No headdresses at Seminoles games May 3
- Offense a priority this spring for ACC's Atlantic Division Apr 25
- Florida State's young quarterbacks shine during spring game Apr 9
- Road trip: Florida State playing spring game in Orlando Apr 8
- Line change: FSU's Leonard switches from defense to offense Apr 7
- Florida State RB Dalvin Cook has shoulder surgery Apr 6
- Penn State RB Barkley looking to evolve this spring, summer Apr 4
- Golson: Like 'long-lost brother coming home' to Notre Dame Mar 31
- Florida State's Ramsey makes case for top pick in NFL draft Mar 29
- Irish QB Wimbush faces challenge of unseating Kizer, Zaire Mar 29