Duke (6-3, 3-2 in the ACC)
Lost to FSU 48-7
The epigraph: "I told our team it was not a product of their preparation. We have a very committed team. We practiced well. It was not a product of were bowl-eligible, now were going to shut down. Thats not the case. It is a product of playing a very good team. We didnt respond to that very good team." head coach David Cutcliffe
What worked: Big-picture wise, not much. But when coach David Cutcliffe went back and reviewed film, there were individual plays that Duke did win.
A few notable numbers: The Seminoles entered the game with seven fumbles on the entire season, but they put the ball on the ground four times against Duke, including three times in the third quarter. The Blue Devils did recover all four loose balls.
In the first quarter, backup nose guard Steven Ingram hit FSU quarterback EJ Manuel and knocked the ball loose, and freshman safety Dwayne Norman recovered. In the second half, Tyler Hunter muffed a punt off his facemask (Austin Gamble recovered), Ross Cockrell stripped receiver Rodney Smith (Walt Canty recovered), and Norman collected his second fumble recovery when he knocked the ball loose from running back Devonta Freeman.
"We come out and do ball security every day at the beginning of practice," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We're going to fix that, I can't tolerate that and Devonta (Freeman) put one on the ground. I couldn't see what happened on his. But that was disappointing, but I was very proud of our team."
Also, for the first time since a Nov. 4, 2009 win over Wake Forest, the Seminoles didnt record a sack. That said, FSU did knock out both starting running back Juwan Thompson and quarterback Sean Renfree with vicious hits. Cutcliffe said Sunday that both Thompson and Renfree were sick entering Saturday's game, complicating any postgame evaluation (when you feel bad going in, getting knocked around won't make that any better). CAT scans and X-rays for Thompson came back negative. Cutcliffe did not have an update on Renfree.
What needs work: Malfunctioned was the word senior defensive end Kenny Anunike used to describe Dukes performance on offense, defense and special teams. After reviewing the film Sunday morning, Cutcliffe said there wasnt a single individual performance worth highlighting. Prehaps most surprising, though, were the struggles of Dukes two freshmen specialists, punter Will Monday and kicker Ross Martin.
Monday had drawn heavy praise from Fisher all week, and he came out and shanked his first punt out of bounds as it went just 29 yards. His third punt was returned 75 yards for a touchdown, and he also had another one that was a line drive right into Hunters hands. On the day, though, Monday punted 11 times with an average of 40.5 yards per punt, close to his ACC-leading average of 45.8 entering the game.
Martin hadnt missed a field goal since week one against Florida International (and that was his only miss on the year entering the game), but he missed wide left from 24 yards. That snapped his streak of 13 consecutive field goals.
Whats next: Duke has another tough challenge when No. 10 Clemson (7-1, 4-1) comes to town. The Tigers only loss was on the road to FSU, 49-37.
The epitaph: "I think this is the best team in the country, and Ive been doing this a long time. I dont think they have a weakness." Cutcliffe