Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC, the no. 4 Seminoles will host the no. 16 Duke Blue Devils.
Duke is 5-1 this season with wins over Clemson, Lafayette, Northwestern, Connecticut and North Carolina State with the lone loss coming against Notre Dame.
FSU holds a 21-0 advantage over the Blue Devils in the series all time. The last time these 2 teams played was in 2020, a 56-35 victory for FSU.
Observations from the last game
Keon Coleman was electric! The receiver was 1st FSU player since Peter Warrick (’99) to go over 100 receiving and punt return yards in the same game.
The ‘Noles were dominant in every aspect of the game especially in the trenches. The defensive tackles Joshua Farmer, Braden Fiske, Fabien Lovett and Malcolm Ray dominated the Orange run game and got after the passer consistently.
The offense seemed to get bogged down in the redzone compared to the rest of the season. Norvell’s questionable play calling and not having Johnny Wilson played a part.
Florida State offense versus Duke defense
Jordan Travis and the offense are going to have its work cut out for them against the deep and disciplined Duke defense. The Devils defense – led by their defensive tackles, Aeneas Peebles, Ji’Mion Franklin and Dewayne Carter – have given up only 10.4 points per game (4th in the FBS).
Duke does a great job against the pass but there are plays to be had on the ground. One of the biggest reasons they give up so few points is their play inside the 20 as Duke is 2nd in the FBS in opponent’s scoring percentage in the redzone (only 46%).
The ‘Noles need to continue their stellar play in the redzone to keep the pressure on Duke’s offense. Having Johnny Wilson back should help Trey Benson, Lawrence Toafili and Jordan Travis find some running room in Duke territory.
Florida State defense versus Duke offense
Quarterback Riley Leonard’s availability is the biggest question going into Saturday. Even if he does play, I expect him to be limited by his ankle, which could force backup Henry Belin into the game. Leonard (326 yards rushing) and running back Jordan Waters (426 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns) provide a formidable 1-2 punch in the running game.
Leonard’s passing stats are not great, but he can make every throw and with veteran offensive line the Blue Devils can make big plays through the air. Receiving threats to watch for are Jordan Moore (25 catches) and Jalon Calhoun (24 catches). Regardless of who plays QB the FSU cornerbacks, Renardo Green, Jarrien Jones and Fentrell Cypress, should be able to handle the receivers one-on-one. This will free up the linebackers and safeties to attack the Duke running game.
Advantage: Florida State
The Blue Devils defense will hold the Seminoles under 30 for the first time in 13 games but it’s not enough as the ‘Noles defense stifles the Duke rushing attack. Florida State 28 Duke 21.