TALLHASSEE, Fla. - The day belonged to Florida State's Chris Thompson even if he only played less than a half.
A year after he suffered a broken back during a loss at Wake Forest that nearly ended his playing career, the Seminoles' speedster ran for 197 yards on nine carries in a 52-0 pasting of the Demon Deacons on Saturday.
"I was in that hospital bed and so many thoughts went through my mind. I didn't know if I wanted to play football again," Thompson said, recalling his injury. "I didn't know if I was going to play again and I didn't know if I was going to be walking straight.
"I'm breathing so I'm happy."
It took the 5-foot-8, 185-pound Thompson about 20 minutes on the game clock to have a career day.
Thompson scored on runs of 74 and 80 yards on successive first-half carries that sparked No. 5 Florida State to a 38-0 halftime lead.
"I wish he waited until Clemson next week to have a big day, but it's good to see him back," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. "To see him come back from that injury is pretty special."
Florida State, which hosts 11th-ranked Clemson next week, has outscored its first three opponents 176-3 although its first two games were against teams from the lower-division Football Championship Subdivision.
And while Grobe headed back to the Demon Deacons' North Carolina campus, it was Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and some 60,000 fans who wanted to see how the Seminoles in general, and Thompson specifically, would perform against a team in their own league.
"I was sitting there watching him in the hospital last year ... not knowing what his future was," Fisher related. "He's a special guy and I'm just so happy for him."
Thompson, who is averaging 14.1 yards a carry on 18 attempts this season, had said all week that he was emotional getting ready to play Wake Forest. He was emotional as well in the locker room after his performance.
"When coach Fisher first started talking to me, I almost burst out in tears," he said. "But you know, I was just holding it back."
He didn't hold back on the field despite leaving the game early with his team comfortably ahead.
Thompson was done for the afternoon after his 80-yard touchdown run that put the Seminoles into a 28-0 lead with 9:42 remaining in the first half. His 74-yard touchdown earlier followed a 60-yard punt return TD by Rashad Greene as the Seminoles (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 38-0 at the half.
Thompson has five touchdown runs of more than 70 yards in his Florida State career, including two of over 90 yards.
"He's so good once he gets going," Grobe said.
Thompson's heroics overshadowed another shutdown performance by the Florida State defense, which has allowed only one field goal and a total of 310 yards and 19 first downs in its first three games.
The Seminoles held Wake Forest (2-1, 1-1 ACC) to 126 yards. Tanner Price completed 8 of 22 passes for 82 yards and was sacked three times while his favorite target, Michael Campanaro, had two catches for 8 yards.
"Their front four is talented and they do a great job of putting pressure on quarterbacks,." Price said. "It was pretty ugly at times."
Campanaro had caught 22 passes in Wake Forest's first two games, but was smothered by the Seminole secondary while Price, who threw for a career-high 327 yards last week in a win over North Carolina to earn ACC offensive back of the week honors, spent the afternoon trying to stay upright.
"We were focused because this team defeated us last year," said defensive end Cornellius Carradine, who had 2.5 of the Seminoles' four sacks in the game.
Wake Forest upset the Seminoles 35-30 a year ago and had won four of the previous six games in the series, but was no match this time.
Florida State had 357 of its 612 yards offense by halftime. James Wilder Jr. chipped in with 94 of the Seminoles' 385 rushing yards. It was the Seminoles most lopsided win over the Demon Deacons since a 72-13 rout in 1995.
EJ Manuel's 16-yard touchdown run set up by a 33-yard Thompson gain started the scoring avalanche with 4:28 left in the opening quarter. A minute and 43 seconds later Greene was in the end zone with his second TD of the season on a punt return.
Manuel retired after throwing his second touchdown pass, a 19-yard throw to Kenny Shaw, in the final minute of the third period that gave the Seminoles a 45-0 lead. He completed 15 of 24 passes for 172 yards and two scores.
The Seminoles kept the Demon Deacons pinned down deep in their own territory throughout the first half. Wake Forest first five offensive possessions started inside its 20, including two at the five.
It was sixth time Florida State has shut out Wake Forest., which suffered its last shutout two years ago in Tallahassee, 31-0.
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