TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Tanner Price had just completed a 41-yard pass early in the third quarter. It would end up as the longest play of the day for Wake Forest.
It was hardly a threat. The Deacons were deep in Florida State territory, but the Seminoles were already working with a five-touchdown lead in a game they'd eventually win 52-0.
But for the FSU defense, the play was significant. It was a chink in their armor, and it didn't sit well.
Three of the next five plays went for a loss, two more passes fell incomplete, and Wake Forest followed its biggest play of the game by marching eight yards in the wrong direction. The Deacons ended up punting, and Florida State's defense recorded its second straight shutout.
"It means everything," defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan said of the shutout. The Seminoles have now outscored the opposition 176-3.
A week ago, Price was the ACC's top quarterback, and receiver Michael Campanaro hauled in 13 catches for 163 yards. On Saturday, Price completed just 8 of 22 passes, and Campanaro ended up with just eight yards receiving.
In the game, Florida State's defense held Wake Forest to a mere 126 yards of offense, racked up 11 tackles-for-loss, and forced punts on 13 of 15 drives.
Through three games, Florida State's defense has held the opposition to just 1.91 yards per play.
"Our defense was very dominant," coach Jimbo Fisher said. "They contested all the throws, controlled the line of scrimmage, didn't give them any free releases. We're going to have to continue that next week."
Indeed, the test gets far more difficult next week when Sammy Watkins and Clemson come to Tallahassee for what promises to be one of the biggest games of the year in the ACC.
A year ago, the Tigers tallied 443 yards, and Watkins went for 141 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-30 win, and Jernigan knows that's enough to undermine a good portion of the work the FSU defense has done in three easy wins to start this season.
"I'm not trying to get in a tongue-wrestling match with nobody," Jernigan said. "We've got a point to prove, and I feel like every week in practice we're going out and making sure we're able to prove it on Saturday."