Florida State got the performance it wanted prior to a needed bye week. The 11th-ranked Seminoles (8-1, 5-1 ACC) downed visiting Duke (6-3, 3-2) 48-7 on Homecoming Saturday.
Although the 'Noles turned the ball on four separate occasions, they amassed 560 total offensive yards and staked themselves to a commanding lead right from the outset. Quarterback EJ Manuel ignited the crowd when he hit sophomore receiverRashad Greene for a 71-yard touchdown less than four minutes into the action. The 'Noles scored four touchdowns and kicked a field goal in their first six drives.
The Duke offense on the other hand had a tough time against the Seminole defense. The Blue Devils punted 12 times on Saturday, and had to operate for two-plus quarters with backup quarterback Anthony Boone. Senior starter Sean Renfree was knocked out of the game after being hit by Karlos Williams on a play that was ruled roughing the passer.
Seminole tailback Devonta Freeman rushed for 104 yards and two scores on 12 carries to lead all running backs. Fellow sophomore James Wilder scored once on the ground and gained 71 yards on 13 carries.
Florida State will not play until Thursday night, November 8, when it meets Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
Tyler Hunter scored on a 75-yard punt return in the first quarter
The Skinny: Florida State was dominant from the outset, and despite Duke's 6-2 record, this looked like your usual FSU-Duke affair. The Seminoles had 137 yards of total offense and two 70-plus yard touchdowns in the first 15 minutes. EJ Manuel connected with Rashad Greene for a 71-yard scoring strike while punt returner Tyler Hunter added a 75-yard return to make it 14-0.
Key Play: Duke's first two punts were directed out of bounds to Hunter, who was making his debut as the Seminoles' starting punt return man. He got his hands on the third one and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown. He has two returns for 93 yards in the first quarter
Key Stat: Florida State has outscored his opposition 101-14 in the first quarter at home this season. Only Clemson has scored on the Seminoles in the opening period.
The Skinny: Florida State continued to roll, amassing 146 yards of offense to match its 137 from the first quarter. The Seminoles added a pair of touchdowns on runs from James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman. Duke added its first points of the game on a three-yard touchdown run by Jela Duncan late in the half.
Key Play: Florida State picked up where it left off in the second quarter. On its opening possession of the second quarter, Manuel hooked up with receiver Rodney Smith on a 52-yard strike to get to the Duke 8. James Wilder Jr. punched it in two plays later from a yard out to give FSU a 24-0 lead.
Key Stat: Florida State has outscored its opposition at home 101-14 this season. Despite the big lead for the 'Noles, Duke has possessed the ball for 19:21 of the first half against just 10:39 for FSU.
The Skinny: Florida State extended its lead to 45-7 with two quick touchdowns, but it was an ugly quarter in terms of ball security for the Seminoles. FSU lost three fumbles in the third quarter alone, stopping three straight possessions. Punt return man Tyler Hunter muffed a punt while Rodney Smith and Devonta Freeman lost fumbles in Duke territory.
Key Play: Manuel found receiver Kelvin Benjamin for a 35-yard strike to give FSU a 45-7 lead. The connection came on a third-and-five play.
Key Stat: Florida State lost three fumbles in the third quarter alone, drawing the ire of Fisher on the sideline. After the third turnover in the half, Fisher called his offense together and gave them a firm message.
The Skinny: The Seminoles closed out the game with a quiet final frame, with three points being scored between the two sides. Senior Dustin Hopkins hit a 56-yard field goalwith 9:40 remaining - a career long for Hopkins.
Key Player: Hopkins became the all-time ACC leader in field goals made with 81. He now has 429 career points, the third most by any kicker in FBS history.
Key Stat: Florida State possessed the ball for 10:30 to put the choke-hold on the game.