for this game

Wake Forest defense dominates sluggish Florida State

Sep 21, 2008 - 4:33 AM TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Ticker) -- Wake Forest gave Florida State a rude welcome to Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Wake Forest's defense forced seven turnovers and Sam Swank booted four field goals as the 18th-ranked Demon Deacons held on for a 12-3 victory over No. 25 Florida State in an ACC slugfest on Saturday.

Riley Skinner completed 17-of-28 passes for 217 yards to lead Wake Forest (3-0, 1-0 ACC Atlantic), which defeated Florida State for the third straight year.

"I don't know if we've ever played a better defensive game as far as forcing turnovers, making things happen," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. "I thought overall we played as hard as we could possible play tonight against what I think is a pretty good football team.

"We don't care whether it's 3-0 or 49-48. We won."

Swank, who also missed three field goals, made kicks from 48, 29, 49 and 31 yards as Wake Forest never trailed.

The Seminoles (2-1, 0-1 Atlantic), who had scored 115 points over their first two games against Western Carolina and Chattanooga, looked inept against the Demon Deacons' defense.

"We're not where I hoped we were because it's very evident," Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden said. "Defensively, you can't say they played awful. Difference of the game is their offense executed better then ours executed. We self-destructed."

Christian Ponder threw three interceptions and D'Vontrey Richardson was picked off twice for the Seminoles, who were whistled for 12 penalties and 139 yards. The two combined to pass for 118 yards, while completing just 12-of-36 passes.

Ponder threw an interception on his first pass, which set up Swank's 48-yard field goal to give the Demon Deacons a 3-0 lead less than five minutes into the first quarter.

"There's a lot to learn from games like this," Ponder said. "We have to go watch the film and learn from every mistake that we had. We'll correct a lot of things and be ready for the next game."

That was the score at the break, and Wake Forest drove 64 yards on its first possession of the second half to add to the lead as Swank booted a 29-yard field goal to give the visitors a 6-0 advantage.

The field goal came after Wake Forest turned it over twice in the Florida State red zone during the first half. Swank also missed a 27-yard field goal.

"If our defense hadn't been playing good tonight, that score would have been awful," Bowden said.

The Seminoles got on the board midway through the third when Graham Gano kicked a 37-yard field goal, but the Demon Deacons answered as Swank made a 49-yarder to give Wake Forest a 9-3 edge with 4:31 left in the quarter.

Trailing by six with under seven minutes remaining, Florida State moved the ball to the Wake Forest 37-yard line. But Richardson's pass on fourth-and-four was batted down at the line, ending the Seminoles' best threat.

Richardson was intercepted on his final two throws before Ponder was inserted back in, only to throw his third pick of the game, sealing Wake Forest's victory.

"We wanted to make them earn first downs the rest of the game and we felt like if we did that we would have a chance to get off the field once in a while," Grobe said. "I never dreamed we'd turn the ball over three times like we did. The kids played really good tonight defensively."