December 8, 2013

Review: Key sequence, Boone stalls, Benjamin soars

Though the first quarter was anything but pretty for the Seminole offense, once things got moving in the right direction in Charlotte, there was little Duke could do to stop the top-ranked team in the country.

Quarterback Jameis Winston did not have his best game and tailback Devonta Freeman had a rare fumble in the red zone. The pair teamed up to drive the 'Noles in the sequence of the game.

Key sequence

It's a laugher now, the 45-7 final score. But in the second quarter, the Seminoles played team ball as they began to pull away from the Blue Devils.

Up 7-0, the Seminole offense stalled, prompting a Cason Beatty punt. Beatty's boot went an impressive 52 yards, but Duke's Jamison Crowder validated his reputation with a lightning quick 40 yard return right up the middle of the field.

Three plays later, quarterback Anthony Boone made a careless decision, throwing into double coverage. It was picked off by Lamarcus Joyner.

Any momentum for Duke was contained, but it wasn't until a 2nd-and-19 play that Florida State captured it back.

In what was the call of the game, Jimbo Fisher showed again he has an uncanny knack for calling the halfback screen. Winston doesn't deliver a good ball to Freeman, but sheer effort from the junior back allowed for a first down as Freeman maintained balance along the right sideline before fighting for 22 yards.

Five plays and 48 yards later, the Seminoles hit paydirt. Check out Winston here instants after handing the ball to Karlos Williams. Think he had an idea Williams would make it through?

Duke tabs Boone

Much was made this week about the two-headed quarterback monster in Duke's offense. Both Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette had signature moments this year, but Blue Devil head coach David Cutcliffe stuck with Boone against the vaunted Seminole defense.

Though Boone had some early moments, including an impressive first quarter drive in which Duke battled off its own three-yard line for 15 plays, the junior completed just 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions. As for Connette, he was more of a passing target than anything. Connette ended up with one pass for two yards and a four-yard carry.

Benjamin validates

Eyes were open, mouths were agape at Benjamin's performance in the Swamp. The domineering figure backed up last week's performance with five catches, 119 yards and two scores in Charlotte. Though Benjamin picked up his quarterback on the game's first touchdown, it was Winston that led his receiver to a 54-yard score in the second half.

Look at this still of the placement. Benjamin is right in between layers of coverage, and thanks to Winston placing this ball to the outside shoulder, Winston not only spared his receiver from a big hit, he also put Benjamin in position to spin and turn it up field for a huge play.

There's no question Winston put his receivers in danger at times Saturday night (no player knows this better than Rashad Greene). This was an example of throwing someone into a big play.

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