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Florida State clinches BCS National Championship trip, beating Duke 45-7

The Seminoles cruise past Duke on their way to the ACC Championship and a date in the BCS National Championship.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Duke entered the ACC Championship as four-touchdown underdogs against Florida State, but the Blue Devils did not look intimidated at all in the early going. Duke held FSU scoreless through the first quarter but could not capitalize on early Seminole turnovers and advantageous field position, and that's not something you can afford to do against the No. 1 team in the country.

The Seminoles' offense eventually woke up and posted a 17-point second quarter, and the game was never seriously in doubt after halftime in Florida State's 45-7 win. The victory secures FSU's spot in the BCS National Championship against either Ohio State or Auburn.

Jameis Winston, the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, wasn't quite as sharp as he has been for most of the season, but his efforts were more than enough for Florida State to comfortably trounce the Blue Devils. Winston finished the night with 330 yards passing and three touchdowns but was intercepted twice and seemed out of sorts for much of the first half, completing just one out of his first six passes.

Duke strung together a 14-play, 67-yard drive in the first quarter but came away with nothing to show for it when Ross Martin's 48-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right. Later in second quarter, Jamison Crowder ripped off a 40-yard punt return to give the Blue Devils great field position in Seminole territory, but that drive ended three plays later when Anthony Boone was picked off by Lamarcus Joyner. These represented Duke's only serious threats to score until Blue Devil running back Josh Snead punched in a garbage-time touchdown with one minute left in the game.

Box Score Hero: Kelvin Benjamin caught four passes for 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His first score -- the only one that Florida State would need to win -- came on a 14-yard fade route that he pulled down despite being draped by a pair of Blue Devil defenders.


Rankings Ramifications: Florida State came into this game ranked No. 1, and that's not going to change. Duke was ranked 20th in the BCS standings prior to championship weekend. The Blue Devils might fall a spot or two, but it's hard to fault them for getting beaten handily by the Seminoles, who have beaten every other team on their schedule in similar fashion.

But Did They Cover? Florida State was favored to win by 30. The Seminoles covered easily.

For More On This Game: For more on FSU football, visit Florida State community Tomahawk Nation. For more on the Blue Devils, visit Duke Basketball Report.

Next Week's Schedule: Florida State is heading to the BCS National Championship on Jan. 6 against either Ohio State or Auburn. Duke will learn its postseason fate when bowl selections are announced on Sunday evening.

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