For one quarter it looked like Duke might just be able to shock the world, then Florida State did what Florida State does, namely dominate, claiming the ACC Championship with a 45 to 7 victory.
Despite being the first team to hold the No. 1 ranked Seminoles to zero-first quarter points, the Blue Devils offense could do nothing to help and the relentless Florida State offense led by Jameis Winston and his running backs namely Devonta Freeman and Karlos Williams pounded the Blue Devils into virtual submission.
Winston struggled early but found success as the game went on completing 19 of 32 passes for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns.
It was a particularly rough day for quarterback Anthony Boone who was wildly inconsistent and got almost no help from the running game which had been much improved this season. Boone finished the game 20 of 40 for 138 yards and two interceptions. Duke’s offensive line, as experienced as they are, could not control the line of scrimmage and as a result there wasn’t a sliver of a hole for the running backs.
The Blue Devils did have their chances early in the game when Boone orchestrated a beautiful drive down the field but ended in zero points. A couple of untimely drops cost the Blue Devils a shot at a touchdown and Ross Martin would go on to miss a 48 yard field goal. A late TD run by Josh Snead kept this game from being a shutout, but it was too little too late.
While the final score seemed to prove what many believed what would happen in this game, the Blue Devils should hold their head high as they perhaps did just as well as any other ACC team would have against this team.
Duke has closed the gap enough to get to this point, but clearly are no match for the very best this nation has to offer whether they are a conference foe or not.
Florida State’s victory can not erase Duke’s 10-3 season and Coastal Division title or the fact that the Blue Devils will still likely play in a New Year’s Day bowl game. At this point the best thing Duke can do is learn from this and get ready for whatever that bowl game may be.