The 41-16 pummeling was a much needed boost to an injured and struggling Florida State University football team and their disappointed fans. Troubles aside, the Noles had a better than a middling chance of winning over Duke University’s Blue Devils. Tonight’s win brings Florida State – Duke history to 17 – 0, FSU. However, a good showing from ‘Noles defense, offense, and experienced quarterback didn’t hurt FSU’s chances to end a three game losing streak and take a win back to Tallahassee.
The opening moments of the 1st quarter showed both teams in good form and evenly matched. Thanks to an interception by FSU’s defensive tackle Everett Dawkins, the ‘Noles drew first blood with a 27 yard field goal (11:00) to bring the score 0-3, FSU. The field goal was FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins’s 109th consecutive point-after attempt and surpassed former FSU kicker Derrick Schmidt’s 1987 record. Duke immediately answered with a 40 yard push and a 38 yard field goal by kicker Will Snyderwine (8:24) and tied the game 3-3.
After trading field goals, FSU quarterback E J Manuel threw a 50 yard pass from FSU’s 40 yard line to receiver Christian Green who would take it to the Duke 1 yard line. Not leaving the job unfinished, Manuel rushed for 1 yard for the first touchdown of the game (7:50). The kick was good and the score stood 3-10, FSU. Just four and a half minutes later, Manuel would do it again with a 50 yard touchdown pass to receiver Rodney Smith (3:00). The kick was good. The Noles’ defense forced Duke to punt and the score would remain 3-17 for the remainder of the quarter.
During the first minute and a half of the 2nd quarter, FSU continued a 95 yard push that they started in the 1st and quickly scored another touchdown thanks to a 10 yard rush by running back Devonta Freeman (13:48). The kick was good and the game stood at 3-24 FSU. The rest of the 2nd quarter was messy, but a 45 yard field goal by FSU’s Dustin Hopkins pushed the score to 3-27 in the last seconds of the half.
The opening minutes of the 3rd quarter were much of the same. Though Duke succeeded in receiving their own onside kick, Nole defense held them two yards short of a first down at the FSU 48. Manuel and Freeman nickel-and-dimed their way down the field and took the score to 3-34 FSU (8:26). In the last minutes of the 3rd quarter, Duke started their 44 yard push that put them at the FSU and by which they would eventually score their first touchdown.
The 4th quarter opened with Duke running back Juwan Thompson rushing the ball 1 yard to the FSU in zone (4:52). The extra point was good and the score went to 10-34 FSU. However, Duke would recover their own onside kick and take the ball 45 yards to score another touchdown (1:45). Their two-point attempt failed and the game was 16-34 FSU. Not wanting to be foiled for the third time, FSU’s fullback Chad Abram, returned Duke’s on-side kick for no gain to the Duke 39. Superb rushing by Manuel and Freeman took the Noles to another touchdown and extra point. The score remained 16-41 FSU for the remainder of the game.
FSU Players of Note:
-quarterback EJ Manuel threw for 239 yards with an average of 17.1 yards and a catch/attempt ratio of 64%. Manuel also had 11 carries and an average of 5.6 yards per carry for a total of 62 yards.
-running back Devonta Freeman had 19 carries and averaged 5.7 yards per carry for a total of 109 yards.
-A historically heavily penalized team, the Noles’ 5 penalties did not match their usually prolific standards.
- The Noles’ overall rushing game took 242 yards, including 109 from freshman Devonta Freeman during his 19 carries. The second most effective running performance was by Manuel, with 62 yards over 11 carries.
- Noles’ starting quarterback EJ Manuel seemed to be well on his way to recovering from his third degree shoulder sprain. The defense did a good job of protecting him to prevent further injury.
-The only trouble FSU had during the game was with Duke’s making effective use of an onside kick strategy.