Sept. 7, 1996
No. 3 Seminoles Open Season in Grand Style, 44-7
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Thad Busby threw a pair of touchdown passes in his first start and Warrick Dunn ran for a score as third-ranked Florida State thumped Duke, 44-7, in the season opener for both Atlantic Coast Conference schools.
Busby won the starting job after Danny Kanell graduated. He opened the scoring with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Andre Cooper and added a 12-yard scoring toss to E.G. Green to extend the lead to 20-0 just four minutes into the second quarter. Dunn scored on a 17-yard jaunt to make it 34-0 early in the third period.
"We went out there today trying to play a balanced game," said Busby. "We didn't put up big numbers, it was just a block here and a block there. All we need to do is concentrate on ironing out the little things in practice this week."
"Busby did a pretty good job, just inconsistent," Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden. "He was not as sharp as I wanted and he might have had too much in his head. It looked like he was thinking too much."
Florida State remained perfect against Duke, improving to 5-0 all-time. The Seminoles, who are 32-1 since in the ACC since joining the conference in 1992, have outscored Duke, 266-81, in their five meetings.
Duke avoided the shutout when Laymarr Marshall scored from one yard out to make it 34-7 with 2:25 left in the third quarter. The Blue Devils were held to 91 total yards.
"We had a tremendous defensive effort," said Blue Devils coach Fred Goldsmith, whose team suffered a 70-26 whipping by Florida State last season. "We gave up 800 yards last year compared to only 220 today. Our defense fought hard. The offensive composure is what I'm disappointed with as well as our breakdown on special teams. We must find more offensive answers."
Busby completed just 9-of-17 passes for 75 yards and an interception. It was the lowest yardage total for a Florida State quarterback making his first start since Chip Ferguson threw for 158 yards in a 35-27 loss to Miami on November 2nd, 1985.
Busby's first touchdown pass capped a seven-play, 42-yard drive. Scott Bentley followed with a 23-yard field goal after a Duke turnover to make it 10-0 with 7:09 left in the first quarter.
Bentley booted a 39-yarder for a 13-0 lead 61 seconds into the second quarter and Busby's second touchdown pass less than three minutes later made it 20-0. Dee Feaster returned a punt 59 yards to give Florida State a 27-0 lead with 1:17 remaining in the first half.
Backup quarterback Dan Kendra had a one-yard run 1:29 into the final quarter to stretch the cushion to 41-7 before Bentley capped the scoring with a 41-yard field goal.
Florida State had 92 yards rushing as Dunn ran for 70 yards on 14 carries. He and Busby played only 2 1/2 quarters. The Seminoles committed 11 penalties for 96 yards. Duke had 12 first downs, six coming on penalties by Florida State.
Marshall and Charles London each ran for 11 yards for Duke, which had 13 yards on 47 carries. Quarterback Dave Green was 6-for-12 for 40 yards, while backup Matt Rader fared no better, going 4-for-11 for 34 yards.
"This game went a lot like our practices have gone," Bowden added. Our defense has completely dominated our offense and they did it to Duke today."
Seminoles defensive end Reinard Wilson had 13 tackles, including eight solos and 1 1/2 sacks.
"I just tried to make something happen every time I stepped on the field," said Wilson. "After watching North Carolina's defense last week, we were motivated to play as good if not better than them. The key to this defense is the experience that the young players got with all the injuries last year."
Florida State 44, Duke 7
1 2 3 4 F - - - - -- Duke 0 0 7 0 7 Florida St (3) 10 17 7 10 44 FINAL FSU Cooper 20 pass from Busby (Bentley kick) FSU FG Bentley 23 FSU FG Bentley 39 FSU Eg Green 12 pass from Busby (Bentley kick) FSU Feaster 59 punt return (Bentley kick) FSU Dunn 17 run (Bentley kick) DUKE Marshall 1 run (Lenhardt kick) FSU Kendra 1 run (Bentley kick) FSU FG Bentley 41 DUKE FSU First downs 12 11 Rushed-yards 47-13 38-129 Passing yards 78 92 Sacked-yards lost 4-20 3-27 Return yards 30 98 Passes 11-26-0 10-20-1 Punts 7-48.1 6-47.8 Fumbles-lost 5-4 2-1 Penalties-yards 5-36 11-96 Time of possession 32:57 27:03 Individual Statistics RUSHING Duke-L Wilks 8-12, Marshall 15-11, London 6-11, Green 8-6, Raced 2-1, Rader 5-minus 1, Owens 1-minus 3, Krueger 1-minus 11, Team 1-minus 13. Florida St-Dunn 14-70, Busby 3-25, Coles 4-21, Abdullah 4-13, Glenn 1-4, Gooch 3-3, Feaster 2-2, P Williams 1-0, Kendra 5-minus 4, Warrick 1-minus 5. PASSING Duke-Green 6-12-0-40, Rader 4-11-0-34, Thompson 1-3-0-4. Florida St-Busby 9-17-1-75, Kendra 1-2-0-17, Dunn 0-1-0-0. RECEIVING Duke-M Wilson 3-34, Owens 3-15, Marshall 1-13, Montgomery 1-6, Ford 1-5, Opalenick 1-4, Flowers 1-1. Florida St-Cooper 3-28, Warrick 2-36, Eg Green 2-30, Dunn 2-2, P Williams 1-minus 4. Att: 70,181