Starting quarterback Drew Weatherford paced the FSU offense connecting on 16 of his 24 pass attempts for 231 yards and a career-high four touchdowns with no interceptions.
The victory evened the Tribe's Atlantic Coast Conference record at 2-2 and improved their overall mark to 4-2. The hapless Blue Devils fell to 0-6 on the season losing to the Seminoles for the 15th consecutive time.
Sophomore wide receiver Greg Carr showed again how much he enjoys playing at Duke, nabbing three touchdowns for the second time in as many years at Wallace Wade Stadium.
The 6-foot-6 standout finished the day with four catches for 100 yards. His scoring grabs came from 33, 16 and 35 yards out, respectively.
"Carr got open and made some big catches," Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden said.
Weatherford's other scoring connection occurred when he found junior receiver De'Cody Fagg from nine yards out midway through the first quarter. The play was set up by a 51-yard punt return by redshirt senior receiver Chris Davis.
Sophomore tailback Antone Smith recorded the day's longest play as he scampered for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. True freshman receiver Damon McDaniel achieved his first career score late in the fourth quarter with a 14-yard reception from FSU backup quarterback Xavier Lee.
Defensively, junior linebacker Lawrence Timmons had a big day for the Seminoles.
The starting outside linebacker put the 'Noles on the scoreboard first after he scooped up a fumble by Duke quarterback Thad Lewis and promptly rumbled 36 yards for the defensive touchdown in the first quarter.
"It kind of surprised me a little bit," Timmons said of the fumble recovery. "I just picked it up and ran with it."
And he wasn't done.
After the Blue Devils cut the Seminole lead to 21-6 on a John Talley interception return for a score in the second quarter, Timmons then blocked the point after touchdown attempt. True freshman Patrick Robinson picked up the batted kick and ran the length of the field for two FSU points.
It was the second time this season that the Seminoles converted two points on a blocked extra point.
Conference tackles leader Buster Davis continued his impressive play with a game-high 12 tackles. The 'Noles suffered another setback on the injury front, however, as starting linebacker Geno Hayes went down with an apparent knee injury making the defensive depth chart dangerously thin.
"We are down to three starting linebackers and the game wasn't five minutes over and you lose one of them … I have never seen anything like this in my life," Bowden said.
As mentioned, Lee saw early action under center for FSU but struggled mightily. The Daytona Beach native threw three interceptions in the second quarter before being replaced by Weatherford at the start of the second half.
He returned in the fourth quarter seemingly more comfortable and guided the Garnet and Gold on a 56-yard scoring drive.
"He had a rough time," Bowden said. "I watch him in practice. If I saw a guy go out in practice and hit everything he threw I'd say, ‘That guy's ready.' I see he's struggling (and) not quite consistent. We see that and you all don't. And when I say you all I am talking about the fans."
FSU bounces back, defeats Duke 51-24
Nole Digest Top Stories
History On FSU's Side With Top-5 RankingFlorida State was ranked No. 4 in the preseason AP Poll, and their history says that's a good sign for Seminole fans.
FSU No. 4 In Preseason AP PollFlorida State will start the season as a preseason Top-5 team.
FSU QB Malik Henry SuspendedFlorida State will be without quarterback Malik Henry indefinitely.
FSU 8/20 Practice Report and HighlightsFlorida State went through their first practice of Saturday's two-a-days in pads.