Saturday, October 27, 2012

Florida State drubs Duke, regains control in ACC Atlantic

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's good day was made even better by what took place about 600 miles north of Tallahassee.air max pas cher
Behind 104 yards and two touchdowns from running back Devonta Freeman, the No. 12 Seminoles cruised to a 48-7 victory over the Duke Blue Devils at Doak Cambell Stadium. And by virtue of North Carolina's 43-35 win over North Carolina State, FSU reclaimed control of its destiny in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Atlantic Division. "I think they're the best team in the country. I do," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. "I don't see where the weakness is." UNC's Giovanni Bernard returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds to hand N.C. State its second conference loss, and if Florida State can win its final two league games -- at Virginia Tech and at Maryland -- the Seminoles will play in Charlotte on Dec. 1 for their first ACC title since 2005. "That was always our perspective at the beginning of the season, but after that devastating loss (to N.C. State), it was kind of a toss-up," FSU safety Lamarcus Joyner said. "But now we're put back on that pedestal so we have to take advantage of it." Duke brought perhaps its most talented team to ever play at Doak Campbell Stadium and one of the ACC's top passing combos in quarterback Sean Renfree and receiver Conner Vernon. But the latest edition of this series looked just like the first 17 meetings -- domination by FSU on both sides of the ball and a lopsided final score. The Seminoles piled up 560 yards of offense and quarterback EJ Manuel threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns, despite going just 8-for-16, to help FSU achieve its first 8-1 start since 2003. Duke, meanwhile, struggled in nearly every phase. The Blue Devils mustered only 232 yards of offense, were penalized 10 times for 95 yards and surrendered a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown to FSU's Tyler Hunter while the game was still close. "Those of you who hadn't seen us, that's not who we are," Cutcliffe said. "We're a good football team. We were not today." FSU was hardly perfect, though. After building up a 31-7 lead at halftime, the Seminoles got careless with the ball, fumbling it away three times on three consecutive third-quarter possessions. Florida State lost four fumbles over the course of the game and, after struggling with ball security in last week's win over Miami, has fumbled it away six times in two weeks. "That's a total lack of focus and putting the balls on the ground were just completely -- that's us," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "That's my fault as a coach and we're going to get it fixed." The Seminoles' defense, though, made sure those miscues didn't matter much. Renfree passed for a season-low 92 yards before leaving the game with a head injury late in the second quarter. Backup Anthony Boone fared even worse, connecting on just three of his 15 attempts. Vernon, meanwhile, will have to wait at least another week to break former FSU star Peter Warrick's ACC record for career receiving yards. The senior from Miami came into the game needing 94 yards to reach the milestone but was held to just 12 yards on three catches, both season lows. "We try to take out players that are threats," Joyner said. "If you are a threat and get our attention, we need to take care of that. Being able to double him and put pressure on his side, that was the game plan and it went through." NOTES: Dustin Hopkins' 56-yard field goal in the fourth quarter gave him 80 for his career, tying him with former Maryland kicker Nick Novak for the most field goals in ACC history ... Senior linebacker Christian Jones recorded eight tackles in the first quarter and finished with a team-high 11 ... FSU scored at least 31 points in a first half for the fourth time this season ... James Wilder Jr.'s 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter gave him 10 scores for the season, making him the first Seminole to reach that mark since 2009.

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