Duke’s passing game woes continue as does its losing streak in close loss to Florida State

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (17) runs by Florida State's Fredrick Jones (55) for yardage.
Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (17) runs by Florida State's Fredrick Jones (55) for yardage. bthomas@heraldsun.com

A visit from a snakebitten 1-3 team could’ve been exactly what Duke needed to avoid a three-game losing skid, but not when that team is Florida State.

The Seminoles defeated the Blue Devils 17-10 on Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium, moving to 20-0 all-time against Duke (4-3, 1-3 ACC).

A late 42-yard touchdown run by FSU freshman running back Cam Akers with 8:32 left in the contest held up as the winning play. Duke’s lack of vertical passing game hurt its chances at answering the late score.

The Devils had two final drives – at their own 18 with 3 minutes, 49 seconds to go and at their own 15 with 1:32 remaining. The first drive ended with three incompletions and the second got to the FSU 30 and a last-second heave fell incomplete.

Quarterback Daniel Jones finished the game 22 of 35 passing for 204 yards (5.8 per attempt).

The Devils were unable to take advantage of the several misfortunes of FSU (2-3, 2-2) throughout the contest.

An interception by Duke’s Jeremy McDuffie on the next-to-last play of the third quarter gave the Blue Devils the ball at their own 47. They went 6 yards in three plays, taking just 58 seconds off the clock before punting.

FSU, which led 7-3 at halftime, had also squandered two first-half chances: An inelgible receiver downfield wiped out a deep pass inside the Duke 15 in the final minutes of the first half, and freshman James Blackmon was picked off by Duke’s Mark Gilbert on the Duke 15 to end FSU’s second drive of the game.

Until its final drive, the lone Duke play of more than 19 yards was a 57-yard pass from Jones to T.J. Rahming, a springboard for Duke as it tied the score 10-all on a 9-yard run by Brittain Brown with 2:12 left in the third quarter.

Duke’s defense tightened up some after FSU scored on the opening drive – a 20-yard connection from James Blackman to Auden Tate. FSU had 425 yards of total offense in a bend-but-don’t-break performance.

The Florida State name had meant nothing but lopsided losses to Duke fans for decades, but this was easily the most competitive game in the series. The next-closest was a 2007 game, a 19-point FSU win.