Quarterback Chris Rix threw two touchdown passes during Florida State's 21-point burst in the second quarter, helping the fifth-ranked Seminoles upend Duke 48-17 Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The contest was the first of three games for FSU in 13 days.
The Seminoles (4-0, 3-0 ACC), who passed for 404 of their 510 total yards, have little or no time to celebrate. FSU will hold meetings tonight in preparation for Thursday's game at Louisville (2-2).
The Cardinals upended winless Army 45-14 Saturday. Dave Ragone threw for 240 yards and a touchdown, and Louisville used two scores by its special teams to win its Conference USA opener. Ragone completed 15 of 29 passes and also led the Cardinals with 62 yards rushing. Thursday's FSU-Louisville game will be televised by ESPN.
The Seminoles return home against Clemson Oct. 3. The Tigers (3-1) upended Ball State 30-7 Saturday and have an off week to prepare for FSU, which appears to be progressing nicely.
"We've got five days to get ready for our next game," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "Louisville is a tough opponent. Playing at Louisville has jumped out at me ever since the schedule came out. You can imagine how much they would like to beat us."
While Duke outgained the Seminoles in the opening quarter and tied the game at 3-3 two minutes into the second period, FSU still scored its most points since beating Maryland 52-31 Oct. 27, 2001. Rix and backup quarterbacks Adrian McPherson and Fabian Walker combined to throw to 10 different receivers for 404 yards and four touchdowns.
The Seminoles erupted for 21 second-quarter points and led 45-3 at one point in the fourth quarter.
"I was pleased that all three quarterbacks got to play," Bowden said. "They responded well and played well. They got some plays under their belt and got some experience under their belt. We saw things tonight that we can build off of. Rix played one of his best games tonight. He still is learning, but what do you expect from a kid who is still only a sophomore?"
Tailback Greg Jones, who had five straight games of more than 100 yards rushing, was limited to 44 yards as the Blue Devils flooded the box with as many as seven defenders. That in turn gave FSU receivers plenty of daylight for some big plays.
Receiver Anquan Boldin enjoyed a career night. He had a career-high 110 yards on seven catches and one touchdown. His previous high was 108 yards on six receptions and two touchdowns against Miami two years ago. Also, senior receiver Robert Morgan snagged his first touchdown of the season and first since 2000 after missing last year with a knee injury. Reserve P.K. Sam recorded a career-high seven catches for a career-high 96 yards and a touchdown. Talman Gardner and Craphonso Thorpe also added scoring receptions.
"I think we are getting better by the week," Boldin said. "We still have some kinks we need to work out, but we are making progress. I thought Chris and A.D. both played well for the most part. Now we've got to put Duke behind us and get ready for a good Louisville team. We don't have many practices since it's a Thursday game, so we have to be focused and get the most out of them."
The Blue Devils, meanwhile, have lost 18 straight conference games and are winless in 11 tries against the Seminoles. One lone bright spot for Duke was Alex Wade, who gained 114 yards on 25 carries. While the Seminoles tipped their caps to the Blue Devils, they seemed to put the easy victory behind them as soon as they hit the locker room.
"We're going to get on Louisville as quick as possible and put Duke behind us," defensive lineman Tony Benford said. "Now we can look forward to the next game and do everything we can to prepare for them. Probably prepare more mentally than anything."
Added Gardner: "We're in that stretch where we have three games in 13 days against good teams. With Louisville, Clemson, Miami and Notre Dame coming up, we have to stay healthy and execute."