Florida State was able to get off to quick start in the passing game against Duke. Quarterback EJ Manuel connected with Christian Green for a gain of 59 yards to set up a touchdown, and on the next Seminoles' possession he hit Rodney Smith[/d]b for a 50-yard score.
Then just before the end of the quarter [db}Kenny Shaw hauled in a 51-yard gain, Manuel's third completion of 50 yards or more in the quarter.
Manuel finished the game 9 of 14 for 239 yards and two touchdowns as he connected with freshman tight end Nick O'Leary for a three-yard score as well.
Overall passing game grade: A
After the game Jimbo Fisher joked he's not sure his offense has ever attempted 14 passes in a single game, but FSU was able to hit big plays through the air when they needed them, and gave up just two sacks. FSU averaged 26.6 yards per completion.
Top Performer: EJ Manuel
Other than the opening drive when he tried to fore it to Ty Jones Manuel made good decisions with the football the entire game. His 239 yards passing is a career best for him in an ACC game.
For the first time in 2011 FSU showed a balanced offensive attack. The Seminoles gained 242 yards on the ground against the Blue Devils, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
True freshman Devonta Freeman led the way with 109 yards and touchdown on 19 carries.
Manuel was also a big factor in the game as he ran for 62 yards on 11 carries, scoring twice. He also had the longest run of the day for FSU, a 28-yard gain in the 4th quarter.
Jermaine Thomas averaged seven yards per carry as he ran for 28 yards on four attempts.
Overall running game grade: A
After struggling to get any sort of ground game all season long FSU finally hit its stride on Saturday. It was the first time this season the Seminoles rushed for over 200 yards as a team. FSU picked up 14 first downs on the ground.
Top performer: Devonta Freeman
Freeman averaged 5.7 yards per carry on his way to 109 yards rushing. The true freshman is the lone Seminole to break the 100-yard mark on the ground this season. He certainly stated his case for the starting nod.
It was a solid day overall for the Seminoles defense, but particularly for the front seven. Duke rushed for just 63 yards on 27 attempts, good for 2.3 yards per carry.
FSU also recorded a season-high five sacks on the day. Three of the sacks came from the linebacking corpse, and the other two from the defensive line.
Bjoern Werner was again too much to handle. He as credited with just one pass break-up, but he got his hands on at least three. The first led to a Blue Devil interception on the game's opening drive as Evertt Dawkins hauled in his first career pick.
Telvin Smith had a big day, recording four tackles, two for loss, and a sack. Fellow middle linebacker Vince Williams also game away with a sack.
After struggling at times this season Nigel Bradham had a bounce back performance with a team-high eight tackles, six solo, and a sack.
Overall front seven grade: A
A season-high five sacks, along with just over 60 yards rushing allowed equals an A for this unit. Pressure by Werner forced an interception, and Christian Jones also forced and recovered a fumble.
Top performer: Nigel Bradham
Bradham's senior year hasn't gone as expected but he had a solid day against Duke. He led the team in tackles, recorded a sack, and also hit the quarterback a few other times.
FSU did an ok job keeping Sean Renfree in check. The Blue Devils' signal caller completed 26 of his 43 pass attempts for 226 yards and one touchdown.
Mike Harris had another solid performance with seven tackles, 1.5 for loss, and a pass breakup.
Xavier Rhodes played through some pain as he recorded five solo tackles and a pass breakup.
Lamrcus Joyner was solid as well with four solo tackles, one for a loss of four yards.
Greg Reid was targeted again as he gave up a couple of crucial first downs. He did record five tackles and a pass breakup.
Overall secondary grade: B-
Duke came into the game averaging 311 yards per game through the air. FSU held them to 226 yards, and just 8.7 yards per completion. The Blue Devils were able to pick up 11 of their 15 first downs through the air.
Top performer: Mike Harris
Each member of the secondary gave up a few first downs through the air but Harris had a solid day. His seven tackles were good for second most on the day, and his PBU came on a 3rd and four in the fourth quarter as Duke drove into FSU territory.
Special Teams Grades
The special teams were solid for most of the day but did have a few hiccups. Duke was able to recover not one, but two onsides kicks in the second half.
Uncharacteristically Dustin Hopkins was also flagged twice for hitting kickoffs out of bounds. Hopkins did set a school record with his 110th consecutive made PAT.
His field goals of 27, and 48 yards pushed his consecutive made field goal attempts to 17, one behind Graham Gano's school record.
Punter Shawn Powell pinned both of his two punt attempts inside the 20-yard line.
Overall Special Teams grade: C+
Both Blue Devil onside kicks were executed to perfection, but coupled with two illegal procedures on kickoffs and it wasn't a banner day for the special teams unit. Both return units, and coverage units had solid days.
Top performer: Dax Dellenbach
Long snappers generally don't get noticed until they make a mistake, but Dellenbach has been great all year on both punts and field goals. On Saturday he downed a Powell punt at the two-yard line.
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