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Quick Hitter: No. 4 Florida State rallies to defeat No. 16 Duke, 38-20

Noles closed on 31-3 run, didn’t lead until 4th quarter

Jaheim Bell signals first down after a reception in FSU’s 38-20 win over Duke
Charles Mays, Tomahawk Nation

The Florida State Seminoles took everything the Duke Blue Devils could give them tonight and prevailed with the 38-20 win to improve to 7-0 on the season.

Duke took control early on the back of strong play in the trenches and just enough playmaking from QB Riley Leonard, whose availability was a big question heading into the game. The Blue Devils held the lead from the game’s first score through the early 4th quarter.

At that point, FSU QB Jordan Travis took over with his legs and led the Noles on back-to-back TD drives capped off by a 2-yard run and 21-yard screen pass from Travis to push the Noles from down 3 to up 11 and they never looked back.

Travis finished the game with 268 yards through the air, 62 yards on the ground and 3 total touchdowns. That effort also made him Florida State’s all-time yardage leader.

The Noles closed on a 31-3 run after trailing 17-7 in the early going.

FSU miscues were the story of the early portion of the game. Florida State’s first two drives both ended in turnovers on downs, resulting in a 10-0 lead for Duke.

The Noles were able to respond with a 13-play, 85-yard drive where Jordan Travis was nearly perfect. He capped off the drive with a 7-yard TD on a swing pass to Caziah Holmes in the flat.

The score held at 10-7 until another Florida State mistake, this time from Travis. Backed up near his own goalline, he tried to hit Keon Coleman near the sticks on a 3rd down and long, but the ball gets popped up in the air, picked and run back for a Duke touchdown to widen the Blue Devils lead to 17-7.

But the lead didn’t stay that way for long.

Deuce Spann went deuces to the Duke kickoff coverage unit to get FSU back within 3 at 17-14.

The two teams traded field goals before half to make it 20-17 at the break.

Duke had the first chance to score in the second half as they had a long drive get them inside the FSU 5, but a sack of Riley Leonard earlier in the drive reaggravated his ankle injury, forcing backup QB Henry Belin IV in for the final set of downs of the drive. The Blue Devils ran it three straight times to set up a 4th and 3 from the 5, but Belin’s pass fell incomplete.

The following drive was the 96-yard, 14-play contest that gave FSU its first lead of the contest. Jordan Travis using his legs was responsible for 40 of the 96 yards including the go-ahead 2-yard TD run.

Running backs Lawrance Toafili and Rodney Hill added touchdowns late to pad that lead to 38-20.

With UNC’s loss to Virginia, Florida State now stands alone atop the ACC standings.