Winston got the Seminoles on the board early in the second quarter when he found Benjamin for a 14-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone. Karlos Williams bowled over two defenders on a 12-yard touchdown inside run to make it 14-0 after Lamarcus Joyner intercepted Duke quarterback Anthony Boone’s pass.
The Blue Devils simply couldn’t move the ball in the first half and were held to 94 total yards.
Given enough chances, Winston finally made them pay.
“I don’t know if we were demoralized,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “It’s no fun, but we competed with them. We were on the field a little too much. You know going in that a big, strong quarterback that moves around well will extend plays, so you have to maintain your discipline in coverage — and we did for the most part. But their defense does a good job of getting the other offense off the field, and unfortunately that worked well for them tonight.”
The onslaught continued in the second half with Winston hooking up on a 54-yard touchdown reception with Benjamin, who showed he’s not only big but can move too after blowing by defenders. He finished with 119 yards receiving.
Freeman ran for 91 yards and a touchdown and Williams had 59 yards on the ground.
Winston, a redshirt freshman and the game’s MVP, was far from perfect.
He threw two interceptions and also made a bad decision on a shovel pass as he falling to the ground. The ball hit linebacker Kelby Brown in the hands, but he couldn’t corral the ill-advised pass.
There was a heated moment midway through the fourth quarter when Winston took exception to what he felt was a late hit on the Blue Devils after he released a pass.
Duke’s only points came with 1:01 left when Josh Snead scored on a 5-yard run.
Boone struggled all night for the Blue Devils and finished 20 of 40 passing for 138 yards with two interceptions and one fumble leading to 14 Florida State points.
Despite the rough night, his sprit wasn’t broken.
“This has been one heck of a year and we’ll definitely be back here next year, I promise you that,” Boone said. “And we’ve still got a bowl game to win. That’s still one of our big goals for the year. We went to a bowl game last year, got a taste of it, but this year we want to leave with a victory and finish this year 11-3.”
Said Duke defensive end Kenny Anunike: “This doesn’t define our season.”
NOTES: Jamison Crowder set a new Duke single-season record in yards receiving in the first quarter. … Florida State kicker Robert Aguayo set a new ACC record with 142 points on the season when he converted a 45-yard field goal late in the second quarter. … Duke sophomore safety Dwayne Norman was flagged for targeting a receiver with his helmet and ejected in the fourth quarter. He will not be eligible to play in the first half of Duke’s bowl game.