Florida State improves to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in ACC play while the Blue Devils fall to 1-7 overall and 0-5 in the league.
"I was proud of the effort," said Duke head coach Ted Roof. "There is no quit in this football team. We have got to find ways to get first downs and possess the football so that we are not playing on short fields and things of that nature."
On their second possession of the game, the Seminoles marched to the Blue Devil two yard line, but Duke linebacker Vincent Rey thwarted the drive by recovering a fumble. Following a Duke punt, Florida State got on the scoreboard when Gary Cismesia booted a 23-yard field goal at the 1:30 mark of the opening period. The Seminole scoring drive covered 51 yards on nine snaps and was keyed by three pass completions to Preston Parker for 29 yards.
Florida State took advantage of great field position to claim a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter. A Duke punt that was returned 20 yards by Parker gave the Seminoles first down at the Blue Devil 28 yard line. After three plays netted four yards, Cismesia kicked a 41-yard field goal with 12:50 on the clock.
Cismesia had a chance to extend the lead with four minutes left before halftime, but his 34-yard field goal attempt was wide right. He did kick his third field goal of the night – this one from 33 yards out – with four seconds left in the second quarter to send the teams into intermission with Florida State ahead, 9-0.
The Seminoles used a nine play, 71-yard scoring drive to claim a 16-0 advantage when Drew Weatherford connected with Parker on a nine-yard touchdown pass at the 9:06 mark of the third quarter. Duke took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the Seminole 29 yard line, but Thaddeus Lewis was intercepted in the end zone attempting a pass to Eron Riley.
Parker scored on a 14-yard run with just under two minutes left in the third period to cap an 11 play, 80-yard drive that took 5:07 off the clock. Cismesia's missed extra point kept the score 22-0 in favor of the Seminoles.
The Blue Devils pulled within 22-6 when Lewis found Brandon King in the end zone for a three-yard scoring strike with 8:07 left in the game. The touchdown marked King's fourth of the year and capped a six play, 47-yard drive that started after Wesley Oglesby recovered a Florida State fumble. Cismesia accounted for the final margin with a 35-yard field goal with 1:16 remaining.
Lewis finished the night with 16 completions in 30 attempts for 198 yards with the one touchdown. He has now thrown at least one scoring strike in 10 consecutive games dating back to the 2006 season. Jomar Wright finished with seven catches for a season-high 141 yards while Riley had two grabs for 49 yards. The Seminole defense limited Duke to 222 total yards including just nine on the ground.
Leon Wright paced the Duke defense with a career-high 11 total tackles while Michael Tauiliili and Glenn Williams had nine stops apiece. Chris Davis posted six tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
For the Seminoles, Weatherford was 35-of-47 through the air for 339 yards while Antone Smith rushed for 146 yards on 23 attempts.
Duke returns home next week to host Clemson at 12 noon. The Tigers stand at 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the ACC after defeating Maryland, 30-17, on Saturday in College Park, Md.