Sunday, October 28, 2012
By the Numbers: FSU 48, Duke 7
By David M. Hale
On paper, the scenario simply doesn't add up. Florida State lost the turnover battle 4-0. Its star quarterback completed just eight passes. It was without its starting running back, and it was playing a division leader.
Most of the time, that adds up to a bad loss. On Saturday against Duke, it was a formula for a blowout win.
But while the 48-7 final score hardly tells the story of all that happened, these five numbers do.
Devonta Freeman (above) and James Wilder Jr. effectively picked up the slack for Florida State's rushing attack.
0: That's the number of sacks recorded by Florida State on Saturday. It didn't affect the defense much, as Duke's QBs still took plenty of hits, were hurried often and completed virtually nothing downfield. Still, the goose egg is noteworthy for the Seminoles because it's the first time they've been held without a sack since Nov. 14, 2009 in a win over Wake Forest. That's a span of 37 games and 117 sacks.
17.6: That's EJ Manuel's yards per attempt in Saturday's win over Duke, the highest average in any game in his career. His previous high was 17.1 yards -- coming against Duke last year. For the season, Manuel was already leading all ACC passers (and is fifth nationally), averaging 9.5 yards per attempt, but Saturday took things to another level. He completed just eight passes, but five went for at least 30 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene. Meanwhile, Duke's quarterbacks averaged just 3.6 yards per attempt Saturday.
10: That's the number of times Florida State has coughed up the football in the past two games, including four fumbles -- all lost -- against Duke. It was a major bone of contention for Fisher afterward, and he chalked it up to a lack of focus from his team. Odds are, there aren't many times FSU could lose the turnover battle 4-0 and still cruise to a win, so limiting the fumbles moving forward will be a major priority. Still, Saturday marked the first time the Seminoles were minus-4 or worse in turnover margin and still came away with a win since beating Boston College in 2010.
7.0. That's the yards-per-carry average for Florida State running backs Devonta Freeman, James Wilder Jr. and Lonnie Pryor since Chris Thompson went down with a season-ending knee injury last week against Miami. Freeman racked up his first 100-yard game of the season Saturday and the trio helped the FSU running game to a whopping 261 yards in the win over Duke. In a little less than seven quarters of action without Thompson, the trio of Freeman, Wilder and Pryor have accounted for 343 yards on 49 carries and scored six touchdowns on the ground.
5 for 28: That's the receptions and yards for the Duke receiving duo of Conner Vernon and Jamison Crowder. The big-play tandem entered the week tied for second in the ACC in receptions, but the Florida State secondary shut them down. For the season, Crowder and Vernon had averaged a combined 1,378 yards and 13 touchdowns, but they found no room against the Seminoles, joining fellow big-play ACC receivers like Alex Amidon, Sammy Watkins, Phillip Dorsett and Michael Campanaro as victims of a dominant FSU secondary.