clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

FSU Takes Out Duke 17-10

As the Blue Devils fall to 4-3

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Florida State v Duke
DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 14: Adonis Thomas #22 of the Florida State Seminoles tackles Brittain Brown #22 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Wallace Wade Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The operation was a success.

But the patient died.

For the first time since, well, forever, Duke competed with Florida State, man-for-man, play for-play, for the full sixty minutes.

But the outcome Saturday was the same as the first 19 times they’ve met, an FSU win, this one 17-10, an outcome finalized only when Daniel Jones’ pass to T.J. Rahming fell harmlessly on the end-zone turf, as time expired.

Duke’s third-straight loss drops them to 4-3, 1-3 in the ACC.

The game was up for grabs, tied at 10 going into the fourth quarter. But it was the visitors who grabbed it, going 91 yards for the winning drive, converting a trio of third downs.

“I’m very disappointed,” David Cutcliffe said following the game, “because I know how hard we worked in practice this week.”

FSU started like it was going to be a rout, marching 83 yards on the opening possession, in a dozen plays, with Auden Tate scoring from 20 yards out on a pass from freshman James Blackman.

Duke looked a little over-awed out of the gate.

Tackle Mike Ramsay denied “any shell-shock” on the first drive. “They just made some great plays. We just didn’t execute well. We just locked in with Coach Knowles on the sideline and figured out what was working for them and how to stop it.”

Safety Alonzo Saxton said Duke didn’t tackle well early.

“We’re going to have to focus more on tackling, especially guys like that who are going to go to the NFL. We had to get comfortable with the way they run. They came right at us. We had to start wrapping up and getting more guys to the ball.”

Duke didn’t answer and the ‘Noles resumed their onslaught, advancing to the Duke 21. But a holding penalty and a sack backed them up to the 31, where Blackman was intercepted by Mark Gilbert.

It was Gilbert’s fourth interception of the season.

Duke controlled the rest of the half. But in an all-too-familiar pattern, Duke couldn’t convert that dominance into points.

Shaun Wilson keyed a 15-play drive with 38 rushing yards. Duke converted a fourth-and-four with a five-yard pass to tight end Davis Koppenhaver. But the drive stalled when Aaron Young dropped a pass and Austin Parker nailed a 37-yard field goal.

Duke had a great chance to take the lead later in the quarter, going from their 15 to the FSU 36. But on first down, Duke got cute and it bit them big time. The Blue Devils tried a halfback option and Shaun Wilson threw an infield fly that was intercepted by linebacker Emmett Rice, at their 14.

Cutcliffe said he needed to coach that play better.

Duke then dodged a bullet when an ineligible-player-downfield penalty nullified a long pass deep into Duke territory.

The half ended 7-3.

Cutcliffe said the halftime emphasis was on finishing, finishing tackles, finishing drives, finishing the game.

FSU extended the lead to 10-3 in the middle of the third, a Tre-Hornbuckle sack on second down leading to a 23-yard Ricky Aguayo field goal.

Duke finally finished a drive, 75 yards worth, 57 of them coming on a scrambling third-and-17 pass from Jones to T.J. Rahming.

“We work on that in practice and I ran my route,” Rahming said. “I saw Daniel scrambling and instead of going down, I went up and he found me.”

The pass put the ball at the Florida State 25. Brittain Brown scored four plays later, on a four-yard run.

Parker’s PAT tied the game, with 2:12 left in the third quarter.

Jeremy McDuffie intercepted Blackman on the ensuing drive, returning the pick to the Duke 47.

The play was reviewed for a possible targeting penalty on FSU running back Jacques Patrick.

No penalty was assessed.

Cutcliffe said he did not receive an explanation for the non-call but noted that this is a difficult call, especially when an offensive player is trying to make the tackle.

Be that as it may, Duke couldn’t move the ball and Parker punted it to the Florida State eight.

Duke needed a stop, just one stop.

They couldn’t get it. Blackman converted a third-and-seven from his 23 and a third-and-eight from his 37, both by air.

Duke forced another third down, two yards to go at the Duke 42. Cam Akers broke containment at the line of scrimmage and sprinted into the end zone, with 8:23 left.

Plenty of time for the equalizer. But special teams again bit Duke in the derriere, a holding penalty on the kickoff pushing Duke back to their nine. Duke got one first down before punting, a holding penalty on the ‘Noles pushing them back to their six.

Patrick picked up a crucial first down on a 19-yard run. Duke eventually forced a punt but only after using two of their three timeouts. Tyler nailed a 61-yarder, that went unreturned, forcing Duke to start at their 15, with 1:32 left and only a single timeout.

They certainly made it interesting. Rahming made a spectacular sideline catch at the FSU 32.

The next two plays may have doomed the drive. Out of timeouts, Jones hit Johnathan Lloyd in the middle of the field, for two worthless yards, as the clock bleed precious seconds.

“I have a lot of trust in Johnathan’s ability to make the catch and run,” Jones said. “Sometimes, you have to take what the defense gives you. When they’re expecting something deep, there’s a lot of opportunity for something big to happen on that play.”

Duke regrouped quickly and Jones hit Chris Taylor at the 15, for what would have been a clock-stopping first down.

Taylor dropped the pass.

That left six seconds.

“Trying to get everyone in the end zone,” Jones summed up. “Obviously, they dropped everyone to the end zone. Trying to give a ball that gives us a chance to go up and get it. That’s a tough play to execute.”

Hail Mary in the end zone, lots of bodies, lots of hands.

Ball hits ground.

Game over.

The players “looked for light” after the game, according to Cutcliffe “and it’s my job to help them find it. We address it one day at a time, one practice at a time. We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves.”


Shaun Wilson went over 4,000 all-purpose yards for his career. He now has 4,093.

Jones was 22 for 35, for 204 yards, with Rahming accounting for 111 yards, on eight catches.

Jones was sacked only once, a big improvement from recent games.

Wilson and Brown combined for 109 yards on 19 carries.

Alonzo Saxton led Duke with 14 tackles, a career high.

Blackman completed 18 of 21 passes, for 197 yards. Two of his incompletions were intercepted.

Meaning only one of his 21 passes hit the ground.

Austin Parker punted five times, for a 46.2 average, four inside the 20, zero touchbacks.

Very good.

Not so good? FSU’s Logan Tyler punted four times for a 52.0 average, none returned by Duke and many of those Tyler yards after the ball hit the ground. Cutcliffe said he was “frustrated” by the inability of his punt returners to actually return punts and suggested that it might be time to find someone new for the job.

If you're going to shop Amazon please start here and help DBR
Check out our October '17 t-shirt! || Drop us a line