WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Reserves Dominic Robinson, Willie Reid and Lorenzo Booker kept Florida State's national title hopes alive.
Robinson and Reid each caught touchdown passes while Booker had a key run to set up Xavier Beitia's field goal with 1:02 left to lift the fifth-ranked Seminoles to a 20-17 comeback victory over Atlantic Coast Conference foe Wake Forest.
A loss would have ended any hope for Florida State (6-1, 4-1 ACC) had to win the conference, let alone the national championship.
The game was tied, 17-17, when Booker scampered for a 46-yard run on 3rd-and-10 from the Seminoles 18. He later added a 10-yard rush to set up Beitia for the go-ahead kick. A sophomore, Booker gained 68 yards in relief of starter Leon Washington, who had 80 yards before leaving with a hamstring injury in the third quarter.
"Since it was 3rd-and-9 or whatever it was, we just didn't want to give them the darn ball," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "(We thought), 'Let's punt and hang on for the tie.' So we ran Booker off the tackle and he broke free."
"We're expecting them to throw the ball to get back in it," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. "I thought to run the football down there was smart, not turn the ball over. They have a fast running back. To let him get out and get that kind of run was really disappointing."
With the Seminoles down, 14-3, Reid sparked the rally by returning a punt 49 yards deep into Wake Forest territory, then grabbed a 20-yard TD three plays later with 6:31 left in the third.
After fullback James Coleman pounded out two yards on 4th-and-1, Robinson gave Florida State a 17-14 lead with 9:59 remaining with a 46-yard TD reception from Wyatt Sexton. A senior filing in for the injured Chauncey Stovall, Robinson finished with four catches for 81 yards after having caught only four passes for 45 yards in the first six games this season.
"This is where my career is going to fit and I plan to take advantage of these games to get to where I want to be," Robinson said. "This is only the beginning."
Taking over for Matt Wisnosky, who tore his ACL a few weeks ago, Wake Forest punter Ryan Plackemeier booted a 41-yard field goal to tie the game with 4:32 left.
Wake Forest opened the scoring with just under a minute left in the first quarter when defensive end Matt Robinson picked off Sexton pass and ran it in from 20 yards out.
After Beitia put Florida State on the board, Wake Forest cornerback Eric King sacked Sexton and linebacker Brad White scooped up the fumble and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown with 4:28 left in the first half to open a 14-3 advantage.
The Demon Deacons (3-4, 0-4) suffered another heartbreaking ACC loss. They had lost in overtime to Clemson and North Carolina State and fell to Virginia by a touchdown.
"We played the game to win and we never want to lose, no matter how close the score is," said Demon Deacons tailback Chris Barclay, who rushed for just 58 yards. "We will learn from our mistakes today and bounce back next Saturday against Duke."
Florida State has beaten Wake Forest in all 13 meetings since joining the ACC in 1992. The Demon Deacons have not beaten the Seminoles since 1973.