After watching No. 2-ranked Florida State dismantle his Demon Deacons, 58-7, Saturday at Tallahassee, Fla., Wake Forest Coach Jim Caldwell said, "They just simply smothered us in so many different situations."
Florida State, 10-0 overall and 8-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, has won 10 or more games in 11 straight seasons, extending its NCAA record. The Seminoles have also won 21 consecutive regular-season games dating to the final game of the 1995 season at Florida.
"They are as good as any team in the last 10 years," Caldwell said.
Florida State's defense, ranked second overall nationally and first against the rush, sacked Wake Forest quarterback Ben Sankey 11 times and also picked off five of his passes while the offense was clicking from the start.
Thad Busby passed for 390 yards and four touchdowns, and Busby's backups were also sharp. Dan Kendra and Chris Weinke combined to throw for 116 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown pass from Weinke to Germaine Stringer.
"There are so efficient," marveled Caldwell, who was disappointed on missing out on a winning season in his team's final game. "They don't try to fool you. They run the things they've been running for 10 years and they do it so well."
Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden had fretted all week about getting his team ready for Wake Forest, which was sandwiched between last week's 20-3 victory at North Carolina and Saturday's date at archrival Florida.
"I told 'em Monday, there is no way I can get you fired up for this ball game," Bowden said. "It's going to have to come from you."
There was no need to worry.
Wake Forest (5-6, 3-5), which had given up only 22 first-quarter points, gave up 28 to Florida State.
No. 8 North Carolina 17, Clemson 10--Quarterback Chris Keldorf and receiver L.C. Stevens perked up the Tar Heels' offense just enough to get by the Tigers and revive their bowl alliance hopes.
North Carolina (9-1, 6-1) lost a perfect season and starting quarterback Oscar Davenport because of injury last week against Florida State.
Keldorf, the El Camino College transfer from Manhattan Beach, passed to Stevens on three long plays to set up the Tar Heels' three scores, as North Carolina overcame four turnovers and two blocked kicks to beat the Tigers (6-4, 4-4) at Clemson, S.C.
A 44-yard pass play to Stevens set up Na Brown's five-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, the Tar Heels' first touchdown in two games.
Steven's 67-yard reception to the one led to Jason McGee's 19-yard field goal, and with the score tied at 10-10 in the third quarter, Keldorf hooked up with Stevens on a 58-yard pass play to position the Tar Heels for another score.
Georgia Tech 41, Duke 38--Joe Hamilton threw two first-half touchdown passes to Harvey Middleton and later ran for another score as the Yellow Jackets (5-4, 4-3) kept their bowl hopes alive by holding on for a victory over the Blue Devils (2-7, 0-6) at Durham, N.C.
Georgia Tech led 38-11 after three quarters but had to survive a furious fourth-quarter comeback by the Blue Devils, who lost their 17th consecutive conference game.
Duke quarterback David Green came off the bench in his last home game to complete four touchdown passes to fellow senior Corey Thomas to get the Blue Devils within a field goal with less than a minute left to play.
The ensuing onside kick was caught by Georgia Tech's Travares Tillman to secure the victory and give Duke its sixth consecutive loss.
North Carolina State 31, Virginia 24--Jamie Barnette threw three touchdown passes in a 12-minute span and also ran for a score as the Wolfpack (5-5, 3-5) beat the Cavaliers (6-4, 5-3) at Raleigh, N.C.
North Carolina State ran for 245 yards against the nation's 10th-best run defense.