TALLAHASSEE — Florida State sophomore WR Willie Haulstead was all smiles after Saturday's game.
With good reason. He had five catches for 44 yards — career highs — and his first two collegiate touchdowns in the 31-0 win against Wake Forest. He had four catches for 112 yards in the first three games this season and five for 122 in his career.
"It felt good. The first time in my career scoring and I scored twice," he said. "It felt real good."
Not just for him but for the passing game that has been relying predominately on veterans Bert Reed and Taiwan Easterling and needs younger receivers to assert themselves.
"I was very happy to see him make some big plays, big blocks," coach Jimbo Fisher said, also mentioning the strong play of freshman Kenny Shaw (23-yard touchdown catch to cap the scoring) and redshirt sophomore A.J. Alexander (18-yard catch).
Opponents have been focusing on Reed and Easterling, and unless the other receivers earn the trust of QB Christian Ponder, it's going to be difficult for him to throw to them with the confidence he needs, Fisher said.
"Willie's a guy I was expecting to have a big year," Ponder said. "(Saturday) was probably a breakout game for him. He's a guy who has a lot of potential."
"I got the offense down pat now," Haulstead said. "It builds up my confidence a lot. I feel like if I try to do everything I did this game from now on, it'll look good for me. … So I'm just going to try to do the same thing every day."
Armed and ready: Ponder, limited most of the week in practice by a bruised triceps in his right (throwing) arm, seemed to be fine Saturday. He completed 24 of 37 passes for a season-high 243 yards and two touchdowns.
"It felt a little tight, but I was able to play, and it feels fine now," he said, adding that he wanted to play no matter what because, "it's my senior year, and I've got limited games in a FSU uniform."
Fisher gave him high marks.
"I thought he played very well, I really did," he said. "His arm strength was good. He ran (11 times for 11 yards and one touchdown). He was much better this week, as far as physically by letting him sit as much as we did, than he was last week."
Getting after the QB: FSU's defense knocked a starting quarterback out for the second straight game when LB Mister Alexander collided with Tanner Price up the middle in the waning moments of the third quarter. Last week, BYU QB Riley Nelson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against FSU.
Weather delay: Lightning was within 8 miles of the stadium, so officials stopped play with 12:34 left in the third quarter. The game resumed 42 minutes later. Last year, lightning forced a 79-minute delay during the Georgia Tech game.
OL change: FSU was without LT Andrew Datko (left shoulder) for a second straight game, but unlike last week, his replacement, redshirt freshman Henry Orelus, struggled a bit. Sophomore Garrett Faircloth took over after the weather delay. "He was just having a tough day," Fisher said of Orelus, adding there was no sense to leave him in when he could benefit from collecting himself on the bench. "And the other guy started doing pretty good, and we left him there, but he'll be fine."
Remember when: FSU celebrated the 50th anniversary of former coach Bill Peterson's first season. Peterson was 62-42-11 from 1960 to 1970.
Familiar face: Redshirt sophomore WR Lovell Jackson (Plant High) is one of 27 Floridians on the Wake Forest roster.