Oct. 11, 1997
Florida State Routs Duke
DURHAM, N.C. -- Thad Busby ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in a 28-point second quarter as fourth-ranked Florida State rolled past Duke, 51-27, in an Atlantic Coast Conference game.
Florida State (5-0, 3-0 ACC) used its defense and special teams in the third quarter to put away the game as defensive back Abdual Howard ran back a fumble 24 yards for a score and Derrick Gibson recovered a blocked punt in the end zone.
Since a 14-7 victory over USC to start the season, the Seminoles have outscored opponents 183-63 in their last four games. Florida State has averaged 52.8 points per game against Duke and has won by an average of 34.8 points in six games between the schools.
"I think we won the ballgame because we had more better players than they did," said Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden, who was unimpressed with his team's play. "They had some good players, but we had more. If you grade coaches, counting myself, I would grade them better. Our kids are a result of what we did. When my kids get penalized, that's us."
Kevin Thompson threw two touchdown passes for Duke (2-4, 0-3), which fell to 0-6 all-time against the Seminoles. The 24-point margin of defeat is the closest in the series. The Blue Devils have dropped their last 12 ACC games.
Duke took advantage of a fumble by fullback Khaalid Abdullah, which was recovered at the Florida State 19 by defensive tackle Chris Combs. Bobby Campbell hit Scottie Montgomery with an 18-yard pass before he snuck in from one yard to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead.
The teams traded empty possessions, but a quick kick by Campbell on a 3rd-and-11 backfired, traveling just 15 yards to midfield. After a penalty and two-yard gain by Dee Feaster, Busby fired off three straight completions, covering 32 yards.
Davey Ford finished the drive, carrying three times for 21 yards and capped it with a nine-yard burst up the middle with 3:33 left in the first quarter.
The Seminoles took the lead for good as Travis Minor bulled in from one yard with 11:04 left in the first half for a 14-7 lead, capping a 14-play, 79-yard drive that consumed more than five minutes.
Cornerback Coronta Cody intercepted a pass by Thompson at the Duke 9 and a personal-foul penalty on the Blue Devils gave Florida State a 1st-and-goal at the 4. Duke held Ford to three yards on three attempts, but Busby snuck in on 4th-and-goal to make it 21-7 with 6:25 left.
Duke went three-and-out and two plays later, Busby and Peter Warrick hooked up on a 54-yard TD play for a 28-7 bulge with 4:08 remaining.
"That was the longest seven minutes of any football game I've ever been through -- the first seven minutes of the second quarter," said Blue Devils coach Fred Goldsmith. "I was proud of the way our kids played."
Warrick set up Florida State at midfield with a 25-yard punt return and Busby had completions of 25 yards to Damian Harrell and 22 yards to Warrick before dashing in from three yards to make it 35-7 with 1:04 to go.
But Thompson, subbing for the injured Campbell, fired a 61-yard pass to Montgomery to make it 35-14.
Florida State extended the lead to 41-14 as defensive end Tony Bryant sacked Thompson to cause the fumble, which was picked up by Howard, who raced 24 yards.
On Duke's next possession, free safety Dexter Jackson blocked a punt by Brian Morton and Gibson picked it up at the 1 before scoring.
FSU outgained Duke, 417-246, including a 282-115 advantage in passing yards. Warrick finished with five receptions for 134 yards while Ford added 58 yards on 11 carries.
Florida State also committed a school-record 20 penalties for 138 yards. The previous record of 18 was established against Duke in 1992 and equaled two years later.
"I've never seen so many penalties in all my life," said Bowden. "We did not play the way we should have. We looked like we never played in our life."
Campbell was 4-of-5 for 36 yards before being injured. Thompson completed 5-of-16 passes for 79 yards. Montgomery hauled in six passes for 94 yards and added 146 yards on five kickoff returns.
"We had to break in another quarterback, but he settled in and did all right," added Goldsmith.