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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Seminoles.com) – Saddled with injuries to key players on both offense and defense, a shorthanded Florida State football team survived upset-minded Wake Forest to pick up its fourth win of the season on Saturday.
The Demon Deacons made a late run into FSU territory trailing by just one score, but senior safety Tyler Hunter’s interception in the end zone with 21 seconds to play sealed a 24-16 victory here at BB&T Field.
Hunter’s interception preserved a win in which FSU was without its top offensive player, top linebacker and one of its top defensive backs.
Running back Dalvin Cook took his first carry 94 yards for a touchdown that staked the Seminoles to a 7-0 lead.
Cook, though, touched the ball just two more times. After an eight-yard reception on FSU’s subsequent drive, Cook limped off the field and did not return.
Cook officially has a left leg injury and spent the second half in street clothes on the sideline. He finished with 94 yards and a touchdown on two carries.
The injury bug wasn’t finished.
Terrance Smith, FSU’s most experienced linebacker, played just one series before leaving the game with a right leg injury.
Just a few moments later, starting safety Nate Andrews injured his left knee while making a tackle on Wake tight end Cam Serigne.
Team trainers helped Andrews off the field and later wrapped his knee.
In the injured players’ absences FSU (4-0, 2-0 ACC) got contributions from some new faces.
Johnathan Vickers, a Quincy, Fla., native who played at Tallahassee’s North Florida Christian School, took over at running back and carried 10 times for 33 yards.
Vickers’ first career rushing touchdown – a tough, 9-yard run up the middle – extended the Seminoles’ lead to 14-3 midway through the second quarter.
And freshman safety Derwin James took advantage of extended playing time, finishing with six tackles while also harassing Wake QB Kendall Hinton as an edge rusher.
FSU’s passing game, meanwhile, bounced back from an uneven showing in its last outing – and a few early hiccups on Saturday.
Quarterback Everett Golson finished 20-of-31 for 202 yards and a touchdown. He reached the 200-yard mark for the second time this season.
More encouraging than Golson’s stats, though, was his willingness to let loose on a few deep balls. He connected on a 51-yard completion to Bobo Wilson midway through the third quarter and also connected with Travis Rudolph to convert a pair of third-and-longs.