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TALLAHASSEE, FL — With the 2017 season nearing its midway point, the Seminoles are headed back to North Carolina, where they’ll play a rare game at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium. Here are the names, numbers and notes you need to know before Florida State takes on the Blue Devils.
1) Game On
Florida State (1-3, 1-2 ACC) at Duke (4-2, 1-2)
When/Where: Saturday, noon/Wallace Wade Stadium (40,004) in Durham, N.C.
TV/Radio: ESPN2/Seminole IMG Radio Network/SiriusXM Ch. 113/194
Florida State injury report:
WR George Campbell (Hip) – QUESTIONABLE
OL Ethan Frith (Hand) – OUT
WR Keith Gavin (Leg) – OUT
S Trey Marshall (Concussion) – OUT
LB Jacob Pugh (Concussion) – OUT
DT Darvin Taylor (Shoulder) – OUT
Out for Season
OL Landon Dickerson (Ankle)
QB Deondre Francois (Knee)
OL Baveon Johnson (Knee)
OL Jauan Williams (Shoulder)
Duke injury report:
OT Gabe Brandner (Leg)
Out for Season
C Will Taylor (Leg)
2) Know Your Foe
Duke Blue Devils
Coach: David Cutcliffe (56-63 in 10 seasons at Duke, 100-92 overall)
Last game: Duke led Virginia late in the second quarter, but the Blue Devils couldn’t overcome a 33-percent completion rate from QB Daniel Jones in a 28-21 loss to Virginia last week.
Last game vs. Florida State: Jameis Winston threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns as the Seminoles clinched the 2013 ACC championship with a 45-7 win over Duke in Charlotte, N.C.
Duke vs. Florida State all-time: Florida State leads the series 19-0 and is 7-0 in Durham.
1992: No. 4 FLORIDA STATE 48, Duke 21
1993: No. 1 Florida State 45, DUKE 7
1994: No. 9 FLORIDA STATE 59, No. 16 Duke 20
1995: No. 1 Florida State 70, Duke 26 (in Orlando, Fla.)
1996: No. 3 FLORIDA STATE 44, Duke 7
1997: No. 4 Florida State 51, Duke 27
1998: No. 11 FLORIDA STATE 62, Duke 13
1999: No. 1 Florida State 51, Duke 23 (in Jacksonville, Fla.)
2000: No. 6 FLORIDA STATE 63, Duke 14
2001: No. 6 Florida State 55, DUKE 13
2002: No. 5 FLORIDA STATE 48, Duke 17
2003: No. 6 Florida State 56, DUKE 7
2004: No. 13 FLORIDA STATE 29, Duke 7
2005: No. 11 Florida State 55, DUKE 24
2006: Florida State 51, DUKE 24
2007: FLORIDA STATE 25, Duke 6
2011: Florida State 41, DUKE 16
2012: No. 11 FLORIDA STATE 48, Duke 7
2013: No. 1 Florida State 45, No. 20 Duke 7 (ACC Championship in Charlotte, N.C.)
2017: Florida State at Duke, Saturday, noon
- Florida State hopes that its visit to Duke will spark a midseason turnaround. The Seminoles were 1:24 from a win over Miami and a .500 record, but the Hurricanes eked out a game-winning touchdown with six seconds to play that sent FSU to its first 1-3 record since 1976. The next four games could be crucial for FSU’s season. The Seminoles play Duke, Louisville, Boston College and Syracuse before travelling to Clemson on Nov. 11. The Blue Devils are in a similar boat. Duke started 4-0 but has dropped its last two.
- Meetings between the Seminoles and Blue Devils have been scarce since the ACC completed its expansion. The two have played just three times in the last decade and only once at Wallace Wade Stadium.
- The Seminoles will need to overcome injuries at a few key areas on Saturday. Coach Jimbo Fisher announced Thursday that sophomore guard Landon Dickerson (ankle) would miss the remainder of the season, while receiver Keith Gavin, linebacker Jacob Pugh and safety Trey Marshall would be out against Duke. In Gavin’s absence, Fisher said he expects freshmen D.J. Matthews and Tamorrion Terry to see expanded roles. The latest bout with the injury bug comes a few weeks after the Seminoles lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois to an injury suffered late in the season opener.
- Speaking of quarterbacks, FSU is looking to get James Blackman off to a fast start against a Duke defense that is quietly one of the better units in the nation. The Blue Devils have 10 interceptions – with four returned for touchdowns – and rank 16th nationally in total defense. Blackman had his best stretch of the season in last week’s fourth quarter (9-10, 142 yards, 2 TDs).
4) Ones To Watch
Duke: Quarterback Daniel Jones came into the season with a healthy amount of buzz surrounding both his ability and his status as the latest protégé of QB guru David Cutcliffe. But the Blue Devils need more from the redshirt sophomore. During Duke’s four-game winning streak, Jones completed 62.6 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and two interceptions. In the two games that followed, both losses, Jones was 35 of 83 (42 percent) with three INTs and no touchdowns. His completion percentage has dropped in every game this season.
Linebacker Joe Giles-Harris may be one of the most under-the-radar defensive stars in college football. The 6-2, 230-pound redshirt sophomore ranks 10th nationally with 58 tackles, and his 10 tackles for loss are good for eighth. Not bad for a player who finished 15thin preseason All-ACC voting at his position.
Florida State: With Dickerson out, Fisher said the Seminoles will turn to redshirt freshman Josh Ball to fill in up front. Ball will play left tackle while Derrick Kelly slides to Dickerson’s spot at left guard. While Ball is young, he does have extensive practice experience. He worked mostly with the first team line during the spring and entered fall camp as one of the favorites at left tackle before giving way to the more experienced Kelly.
Duke’s passing offense has been in a steady decline for the last month, and the Seminoles can help hasten that slide with a strong effort from its pass rush. With that in mind, FSU could use a big effort from sophomore end Brian Burns, both on Saturday and moving forward. After posting 9.5 sacks a year ago, Burns has yet to record his first sack this season.
5) Numbers To Know
Total offense: FSU: 327. YPG (113th nationally); DU: 414.0 YPG (61st)
Scoring offense: FSU: 18.5 PPG (119th); DU: 31.5 PPG (57th)
Passing offense: FSU: 203.0 YPG (85th); DU: 210.3 YPG ( 82nd)
Rushing offense: FSU: 124.0 YPG (105th); DU: 203.7 (34th)
Total defense: FSU: 334.5 YPG (29th); DU: 294.2 YPG (16th)
Scoring defense: FSU: 23.5 PPG (47th); DU: 20.0 PPG (32nd)
Passing defense: FSU: 219.0 YPG (55th); DU: 206.2 YPG (44th)
Rushing defense: FSU: 115.5 YPG (27th); DU: 88.0 YPG (7th)
6) They Said It
“They have a lot of character. They’re playing their tails off, practicing their tails off. … It’s what I expected to see. That’s how they are and that’s the way they played last week. and I expect them to do it again this week.” – Jimbo Fisher on the team’s preparation for Duke
“There’s a lot of people probably in the same boat that Duke is, in that they haven’t beaten (Florida State). That’s just a fact. Or even fortunate to beat them once or twice. It’s a great football traditional program. So that factors in. It’s a good way to measure yourself and test yourself and challenge yourself.” – Duke coach David Cutcliffe on the Blue Devils’ winless record against Florida State
“College football, the parity has grown across the board. For the most part, that’s kind of the way it goes. You saw (last) week – there’s has been upsets all over the place. I think there’s a lot more parity out there than we realize.” – Fisher on the modern college football landscape
“You can want something too much. You can try too hard. You can put too much pressure on yourself that you can’t do something. You just have to get them to relax, trust themselves, trust their coaching, trust their own eyes, and trust their game and just react.” – Fisher on the tendency to “push” too hard to turn things around
7) Nole Notes
- Florida State’s 19-0 record against Duke is its best over an ACC opponent. The Blue Devils are the only team in the ACC to have never beaten FSU, although Pittsburgh and Syracuse are winless against the Seminoles since joining the league.
- FSU has bested its single-game rushing totals in every game this season. The Seminoles ran for 40 yards against Alabama, 104 against NC State, 149 at Wake Forest and 203 against Miami.
- Kicker Ricky Aguayo has made 10 straight field goals. That’s a career high for him and the longest streak by an FSU kicker since his older brother, Roberto, made 23 consecutive kicks during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
- The Seminoles recorded 12 pass breakups last week, their most since posting 13 against Miami in 2008.
- FSU (29.4 yards per kick return) and Duke (27.2) boast the Nos. 1 and 2 kickoff return units in the ACC.
8) Watch And Learn
In 1995, the Seminoles visited Duke in their season opener, where junior running back Warrick Dunn racked up 124 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries. Check out that classic, 90s-era white-on-garnet uniform combo, too:
9) Further Reading
- Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat caught up with Bobby Bowden at the Tallahassee QB Club.
- Safid Deen of the Orlando Sentinel dives into James Blackman’s fourth-quarter surges.
- Joedy McCreary of the Associated Press takes a look at Duke’s efforts to fix its passing game.
- I asked Jimbo Fisher about the thin line between winning and losing, and the small margin for error in modern college football.
10) The Bottom Line
The days when Duke could be penciled in as an easy victory are gone. David Cutcliffe has done great work with the program, and opponents who don’t give the Blue Devils their due respect can often find themselves in uncomfortable situations when playing them.
That said, while Duke has gotten off to a solid start this season, the Blue Devils seem to be trending in the wrong direction after two offensively-challenged losses. And while Florida State has endured a difficult stretch of its own, the Seminoles should still enjoy advantages at nearly every position on the field.
It may not be pretty – the Seminoles are still missing four starters due to injuries (five, including Francois) – but it doesn’t need to be. If the offense takes care of the ball, FSU should be able to get out of Durham with a win and then turn its focus to next week’s date with Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals.
Free Sports Press Final Score Prediction:
Florida State 35, Duke 19