Nov. 9, 1996
Kendra Leads No. 3 Seminoles Past Wake Forest, 44-7
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Highly-touted redshirt freshman Dan Kendra cruised in his first career start with three touchdown passes and 281 yards and third-ranked Florida State clinched its fifth straight Atlantic Coast Conference title with a 44-7 dismantling of Wake Forest in Orlando, Florida.
"It gets more meaningful because I really think the conference is improving," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said of the title. "Anyone who wants to go out and challenge Virginia or North Carolina, go right ahead."
Warrick Dunn ran for a pair of scores in the first quarter as Florida State (8-0, 7-0 ACC) got up early and never looked back, sending the Deamon Deacons (2-7, 0-6) to their seventh straight loss. Florida State has won 13 straight neutral-site games, including bowls.
The Seminoles are 38-1 all-time in conference play, beating Wake Forest five times and increasing their all-time record against the Deacons to 12-2-1.
Dunn, who left with bruised left ribs in the third quarter, carried 11 times for 55 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first half. He scored on a 14-yard run to open the scoring 5:16 into the game and doubled the lead 7:37 later with a 13-yard scoring burst.
Dunn finished with 56 yards on 15 carries, leaving in the third quarter when the game was out of reach. The rushing total was his lowest since gaining 54 yards in a loss to Virginia last season. Florida State's 120 rushing yards were also a season low.
"We threw everything we had at them and they nearly shut us down offensively," Bowden said. "They shut our running game down pretty good. I give them credit, but our defense was the difference."
Florida State's defense slipped up only once, when Morgan Kane ripped off an 80-yard scoring run on the first play from scrimmage following Dunn's second touchdown.
Kane's run accounted for most of the first-half offense for the Deamon Deacons, who managed just 25 yards otherwise. Kane actually totaled minus-one yard on his four other carries in the first half.
Kendra, starting because Thad Busby has a fractured bone in his wrist, found Peter Warrick for a 42-yard scoring pass 45 seconds into the second quarter as Florida State built the lead to 21-7.
Warrick, who was also making his first start, was alone inside the 5-yard line and juggled the ball before he got hit and barely landed in the end zone. He ended up with a dislocated right pinky.
Kendra gave the Seminoles a 28-7 lead, which they held at the half, when he threw a four-yard scoring pass to Melvin Pearsall with just under 10 minutes left in the second quarter.
Kendra was 10-of-16 for 167 yards in the first half, hitting E.G. Green five times for 106 yards as the Seminoles ran to a 269-105 total yardage advantage in the first half. He finished 20-of-39 without an interception, helping Florida State to a 403-184 advantage in total yards.
"I just tried to go out there and do my best," Kendra said. "It took a couple of passes to get used to being in there. I just tried to stay relaxed because I knew evrything would come. It went well. It just felt a little different than I expected."
"He has good athletic ability and he did about like liek I thought he would," Bowden said of Kendra. "My one concern before the game was, 'Does he know the offense well enough,' but I'm very pleased with his performance."
Does that mean that Kendra will be the quarterback for the rest of the season?
"Starting with next week's practice, Thad will be back to number one," Bowden confirmed. "But I'm glad he got the work and is Thad gets hurt again down the road, we won't hesitate to put Dan in. ... A guy who's not a great passer only has one speed. But Dan's got all the speeds. He can go a little bit hard and a little bit easy when he has to."
Green got into the end zone with 6:42 left in the third quarter when Kendra threw him a 20-yard TD pass to make it 35-7.
Scott Bentley added a 22-yard field goal 4:25 later and kicked a 32-yarder with 6:22 left in the game to increase the lead to 34 points. He finished the scoring with a 38-yarder with 4:32 left.
Besides Busby, Florida State was playing short-handed, having lost wide receiver Andre Cooper before the game to possible torn cartilage in his right knee suffered in warmups. Cooper, who will have an MRI Sunday, is one touchdown catch short of the school record.
"It happened in warmups," Cooper said. "I slipped and fell while I was running a pattern. I'm not really in very much pain. It doesn't hurt too bad. I've been told that I will have an MRI tomorrow and will know more after that. I just want to try and get back as soon as possible."
In addition, FSU free safety Sean Hamlet went down with 4:02 left in the second quarter with an undisclosed ailment and tight end Kamari Charlton was lost to a possible fractured ankle late in the first quarter.
Seminoles 44, Wake Forest 7
1 2 3 4 F - - - - -- Florida St (3) 14 14 10 6 44 Wake Forest 7 0 0 0 7 FINAL Florida St-Dunn 14 run (Bentley kick) Florida St-Dunn 13 run (Bentley kick) Wake Forest-Kane 80 run (Burdick kick) Florida St-Warrick 42 pass from Kendra (Bentley kick) Florida St-Pearsall 4 pass from Kendra (Bentley kick) Florida St-Eg Green 20 pass from Kendra (Bentley kick) Florida St-FG Bentley 22 Florida St-FG Bentley 32 Florida St-FG Bentley 38 Florida St Wake Forest First downs 22 10 Rushed-yards 39-121 35-60 Passing yards 281 126 Sacked-yards lost 5-35 3-31 Return yards 19 0 Passes 20-39-0 16-32-0 Punts 6-38.3 10-30.5 Fumbles-lost 4-2 1-0 Penalties-yards 10-105 5-47 Time of possession 30:47 29:13 Individual Statistics RUSHING: Florida St-Dunn 15-57, Preston 7-27, P Williams 3-10, Kendra 8-9, Warrick 1-9, Abdullah 1-8, Feaster 4-1. Wake Forest-Kane 11-82, H Lewis 10-13, J Lewis 3-7, Sankey 2-minus 6, Kuklick 9-minus 36. PASSING: Florida St-Kendra 20-39-0-281. Wake Forest-Kuklick 15-27-0-116, D Clark 0-1-0-0, Sankey 1-4-0-10. RECEIVING: Florida St-Eg Green 6-126, Warrick 3-72, Coles 3-32, Glenn 3-18, Dunn 2-34, Pearsall 1-4, Preston 1-0, Feaster 1-minus 5. Wake Forest-Deese 5-41, D Clark 4-44, W Clark 2-26, Davis 2-6, Kane 2-5, Perry 1-4. Att: 34,974