Joe Ovies

Talking Points: Duke a tough out for FSU

Posted December 8, 2013

1. No moral victories for Duke in the ACC Championship.

The Blue Devils came to Charlotte believing they could beat Florida State. After holding the Seminoles scoreless in the opening quarter for the first time this season, Duke at least made you consider it was possible. The positive vibes proved fleeting as FSU slowly asserted their dominance in the second quarter and eventually swept the Devils' leg after halftime. 

The eye-opening aspect of Florida State's victory was the building wave of physicality that ultimately consumed Duke. Each team traded big hits early on, but the Seminoles had the size and depth to withstand those shots. That advantage in personnel was the driving force behind the Seminoles' utter destruction of the ACC.

Duke had a great regular season and getting to the championship game in Charlotte is an accomplishment. While this exact sort of thing is unlikely to be the new normal for football in Durham, head coach David Cutcliffe has pulled the program out of the abyss and the Blue Devils must be taken seriously going forward.

2. Florida State opened the game with a punt, a fumble and another punt. Duke was presented with the rare opportunity to build an early lead against the Seminoles, but the Blue Devils failed to put numbers on the board. 

Following Devonta Freeman's fumble Duke's 3-yard line, the Blue Devils engineered a 15-play drive spanning 67-yards. Ross Martin missed a 48-yard field goal attempt that would have given Duke the first lead of the game with 5:07 left in the first quarter. 

Trailing 7-0 with 10:01 left in second quarter, Jamison Crowder returned a punt 40-yards into Florida State territory. Quarterback Anthony Boone threw an interception three plays later and the Seminoles would score a touchdown on the subsequent drive. 

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston overthrew intended receiver Rashad Greene and gifted Duke an interception with just over two minutes to go in the half. However, the Blue Devils' offense stalled again. Cutcliffe played it conservatively on fourth down, wanting the score to remain 14-0 at halftime, but it backfired when Florida State hit the break with a field goal. 

The scoreboard read 17-0 at halftime, but it felt like Florida State was up by at least 35. 

The second half wasn't much better as Duke couldn't answer any of the Florida State touchdowns until the final minute of the title game. 

3. Big hits. Powerful running. Incredible catches. Florida State was just too strong for Duke during key stretches. 

Seminoles wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was a huge reason why the Blue Devils defense wore down. 

And here's running back Karlos Williams making it look easy against Duke. 

Those are just a couple examples of where Florida State flexed on the Blue Devils. Benjamin broke the game wide open when he hauled in a 54-yard touchdown pass from Winston to extend FSU's lead to 31-points with 6:31 left in the third quarter.

4. Jameis Winston will always be the shiniest object on the football field, but Florida State's defense deserves much of the credit for shutting down Duke's running game. The Blue Devils slogged through 31 carries for 99 yards.

Without a ground game, Anthony Boone struggled to carry the weight. The Seminoles never allowed him to get comfortable. Boone ended the night 20-of-40 for 138 yards and two interceptions. 

The inability to establish the running game also prevented change-of-pace quarterback Brandon Connette from doing any sort of pace changing. 

The Blue Devils were 7-for-20 on third down and faced an average distance of 6.3 yards. With only 15 first downs on the night, Duke 

5. Whether it was to impress Heisman voters or leave little doubt in the minds of BCS pundits, Florida State kept Winston and other starters deep into a game that was effectively over midway through the third quarter. 

Duke didn't want to go out like punks and the game took on a chippy tone after safety Dwayne Norman hit Winston as the quarterback was going out of bounds. The Heisman hopeful wasn't pleased, so the Seminoles started taking shots down the field to make an emphatic point. Winston found tight end Nick O'Leary the end zone, but Norman blew him up as he was catching the ball. 

Officials ruled Norman targeted O'Leary and ejected him from the game. 

6. Prepare yourselves. The hot sports takes are coming. 

SEC pundits will tell you Florida State's methodical takedown of Duke proves the Seminoles aren't as good as Auburn and Alabama. Pardon me while I try and keep my eyes from rolling into the back of my head.  

Florida State wasn't Ohio State. The Seminoles dominated throughout their undefeated season and they deserve the top spot in the BCS standings. There is no debate. End of discussion.

College football avoided the perceived national crisis of having a championship game without an SEC team. Now Florida State will have the chance to be the man by beating the man. 



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  • jrt0856 Dec 9, 11:53 a.m.

    Duke was not a 'tough out' for FSU.

    Stop pandering...

    — Posted by dave437

    Joe has to be nice to Duke, he doesn't want to blacklisted from the click or the locker rooms.

  • jrt0856 Dec 9, 11:49 a.m.

    Last comment on Duke a tough out for FSU. If Duke was a tough out, then FSU doesn't stand a chance against Auburn.

  • dave437 Dec 9, 10:27 a.m.

    Duke was not a 'tough out' for FSU.

    Stop pandering...

  • lewiskr45 Dec 9, 9:16 a.m.

    Duke players were taking cheap shots towards the end of the game and there should have been 2 ejections because of targeting. It's like Cutcliff told his defense to go out there and knock some players out. And he was totally classless in the postgame handshake with Jimbo. You can complain all you want about FSU running up the score, but duke should have been more prepared to play. Every observant college football fan knows that FSU scores a lot.

  • ttaylor58 Dec 8, 8:32 p.m.

    Anthony Boone is just not a very good QB. If you are to have any chance at beating FSU you have to be able to throw the ball downfield and Boone just does not posses this skill. The fact that the Noles were better at every position made this the one sure bet of the weekend...29 points like taking candy from a baby.

  • ACC22 Dec 8, 7:02 p.m.

    Cmon Joe I expect a comment like that from Gold, but not you. 45-7 the game was not as close as... View More

    — Posted by jrt0856

    Have any of you any idea what playing big time football is like? So much criticism about who... View More

    — Posted by stanleymonk2

    Duke did a fantastic job this year. I think a lot of people recognize that. The blue devils gave it their absolute best effor against FSU. Most of the criticisim is coming from the title of this article. It is simply incorrect. This is not to take away from Duke's season or the fight they showed against FSU. With all that being said Duke was NOT a tough out for FSU. That is simply not the case. In order to win a football game you have to score. Sometime alot other times a little. None the less you have to score.

    Duke first scored with only a couple of minutes left in the game after FSU had already put up over 40 points. There are so many ways Duke's great effort coulbe be accuratly described vs FSU. One way that cannot accuratly describe the game is tough out. Right wrong or indifferent you cant be down over 40 points with about two minutes to go in a game when you first score and qualify as being a tough out.

  • stanleymonk2 Dec 8, 6:46 p.m.

    Cmon Joe I expect a comment like that from Gold, but not you. 45-7 the game was not as close as... View More

    — Posted by jrt0856

    Have any of you any idea what playing big time football is like? So much criticism about who Duke is or is not playing. When will the hate end? We are who we are. We play who is on the schedule and because we win, you try to diminish our accomplishments because of some deep seeded hate for our organization. For years we haven't been successful and now we are. Deal with it. The reason we are winning now varies from multiple things, one being having the approval to Redshirt from the administration. 4th year players going against 5th year players is hardly an even playing field. Now that is changing, like Duke football. There's not that much variance in talent from the divisions so please stop crying about who we play from week to week. Miami, Va Tech, UNC have always had successful programs in the past decade and now you try to discredit them? I think not. We have just stepped up our expectations for football and losing is no longer acceptable. Like minded guys getting together to achieve a common goal. Winners.

  • Objective Scientist Dec 8, 6:00 p.m.

    My last post was "truncated" - too many characters I presume. I was ending the comment with "Where will it end?" Furthermore... should our UNIVERSITIES - our institutions of HIGHER EDUCATION - be involved in such an enterprise? The current "system" is making a lot of coaches, head and assistant, RICH beyond imagination! Also include other athletic department administrators - the AD, all those Assistant and Associate ADs, etc. Fans - fans keep having to pay higher and higher ticket prices - individual and season. Concession prices - how many of us would walk away and NOT purchase the drink or food at those prices outside of a sports stadium or arena? Keep in mind that the folks I listed above - coaches, athletic dept administrators, etc. will always DEFEND athletic programs - and why not? They are defending THEIR very VERY RICH and LUCRATIVE lifestyles!!!

  • Objective Scientist Dec 8, 5:52 p.m.

    Post by CoachCutt and... : "We know that Carolina's dirty laundry was opened up for the public... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    You could be right, but as winning becomes more important, you'll see them recruiting like their... View More

    — Posted by ABCers Partying

    I have to ask - your comment "...but as winning becomes more important" - how much more important can it become? And, I hasten to add "CoachCut..." - I'm not "knocking you" or "attacking you" in any way, and certainly not personally - you and I, to the best of my knowledge, have never met. Many others in these forums have said basically the same thing - winning, WINNING is the MOST important think and you MUST do EVERYTHING to WIN! And... it seems the driving force for many is not simply wanting to win "for bragging rights", or pride, or self-satisfaction, or whatever... it is for the almighty dollar. To be clear... I like "dollars" as much as anyone. I also love to win, maybe more than most. Everytime I have ever stepped on an athletic field or court in a competitive contest/game - I gave everything I had to WIN! However, in intercollegiate sports - and let's just focus on football and basketball - everytime a game is played there IS a WINNER... and there is a LOSER. That is the way it works! One team must be declared the WINNER, one must be the LOSER. Every football Saturday... only 50% of all teams playing are winners. In basketball each team often plays two games per week... in 50% of those games one team is the winner, the other is the loser. I contend that we - the Universities - simply cannot keep "chasing wins" with dollars. What will Championships mean it that continues unbridled? It will mean that each University has put on the field/court the best money it can buy with the funds it has! Do not the MLB, the NFL, the NBA... have "salary caps", and a "luxury tax" - aka "Competitive Balance Tax" - in at least some attempt to achieve a "competitive balance" so that a team is not able to simply "buy" championships if they have "deep pockets"??? In intercollegiate athletics unbridled spending to "lure" the best talent and "buy" wins has become known as the "Arms Race". W

  • jrt0856 Dec 8, 5:08 p.m.

    Joe Ovies, I don't think anybody agrees with you (except Joe the caller) he would agree with you. What does that tell you? You can do an Obama tomorrow and deny you wrote that post.




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