FSU Handles Duke

Nothing like a date with lowly Duke to work out some frustrations after a loss, right? True, but only for a half. Florida State (7-2) took a 9-7 lead into halftime before slowly easing away from the Blue Devils (1-8) on their way to a lackluster 29-7 Homecoming win.

Wyatt Sexton returned at quarterback for Florida State and directed a pair of touchdown drives for an efficient offense but inopportune offense that settled for five field goals from kicker Gary Cismesia.

Much like they have for the entire season, defense did the rest – Duke picked up just 230 total yards on the afternoon, 59 in the first half.

"We haven't been giving them a whole lot of leeway," FSU tailback Lorenzo Booker said. "Those guys have been playing hard and doing their jobs all year and a lot of the times we have failed to come up. We can have those guys feeling like they're playing offense and defense and we picked it up today."

Sexton came off the bench in relief of Chris Rix, the second time in as many weeks the Seminoles have flip-flopped their signal callers at the break. Unlike Rix a week ago, Sexton changed FSU's offensive fortunes, completing 11-of-15 passes for 220 yards in just two quarters of action.

"I was definitely playing a little ticked off," Sexton said. "I feel like I can make a difference. We didn't take care of business in the first half."

Sexton sparked the Seminoles with long passes to Chauncey Stovall (20 yards) and Paul Irons (28 yards) before hitting Chris Davis for a 45-yard touchdown on an improvised play. The long score completed a perfect 3-for-3 drive and gave the Seminoles their first touchdown at the 7:34 mark in the third.

"I saw some holes in their defense I thought we could exploit," said Sexton, who also completed passes for gains of 48 and 40 yards to Stovall. "We called some good plays that gave us the one-on-one opportunities for our receivers to exploit.

Stovall led all receivers with eight catches for a career-high 138 yards.

Booker added 130 yards on the ground in his second start in place of the injured Leon Washington. Booker's 53-yard run in the second quarter tied Washington for the longest play from scrimmage this season and gave him the team rushing yardage lead.

"I think it showed the character of this team to bounce back after last week and after the first half," he said.

The return of Rix as the starter provided some unspectacular positives and one glaring negative. Rix led the Seminoles on three straight scoring drives to open the game, all stalling within the Duke 6 and all resulting in field goals.

Then the disaster. Faced with an unchecked blitz from the left corner, Rix threw an interception into the waiting hands of Duke linebacker Codey Lowe. Rix hogtied Lowe at the FSU 24 but not before the Blue Devils were in business.

Duke capped their only scoring drive eight plays later when Cedric Dargan plowed into the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the FSU 2 with just over a minute before intermission.

The Blue Devils failed to further their scare after the half, squandering a pair of excellent offensive opportunities with turnovers. Ernie Sims sacked Schnieder on Duke's opening drive, forcing a fumble that led to another Cismesia field goal.

Trailing 19-7, Duke drove to the FSU 3after a conversion on fourth-and-2 on a pass from backup quarterback Chris Dapolito to Corey Thompson prolonged the march. But on the very next play, Pat Watkins snared his team-leading fourth interception in the back of the end zone to end that threat.

"We had some chances in the second half but we weren't able to get it done," Duke coach Ted Roof said. "We had some opportunities there and just couldn't finish. That's what we have got to learn to do – finish the drive, the game, the half."

Florida State has a short week of preparation before heading to N.C. State Thursday night.

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