Duke is a really good and well-coached football team, one that does not have any glaring weaknesses and played FSU really tough.
The Seminoles' offense made the difference in the game by showing out in the second half after only scoring one offensive touchdown in the first half. Mike Norvell made some crucial adjustments and put Jordan Travis in a position to play his best game all year.
Travis and the passing offense showed up and closed the game out once Blue Devils quarterback Riley Leonard left the game with a re-aggravated ankle injury.
On Saturday night under the lights, Travis played more like he did in 2022 and carried the offense in the most crucial of moments.
What Went Right
Johnny Wilson got going early against Duke as they seemed to be keyed in on containing Keon Coleman throughout the game. Wilson was having a very good game until he left the game with a left knee injury.
While they could not run the ball, and only scored one offensive touchdown in the half. The passing game was able to pick up chunk plays, eight of their ten first downs in the first half were on passing plays.
Jaheim Bell was important for this offense throughout the game. With Johnny exiting and the Blue Devils taking away Keon he made plays when no one else was. He finished the game with 8 catches for 53 yards.
Jordan Travis got some designed runs in the second half, this was huge news as they have not gone to that this all year. He had big gains on run options plays and scrambles, while he was a bit shaken in the first half he responded in a big way in the second half, grabbing the momentum of this game.
On the drive after Leonard exited the game, Travis ran for 40 yards and a touchdown to cap off a 14-play, 96-yard drive.
Up until that point in the game, Keon Coleman had one catch and the designed running game was awful. So Norvell adjusted and went to Travis, which worked well and opened up the rest of the offense.
If they can continue to build on this, the offense will have a great chance to reach the ceiling they are capable of.
What Went Wrong
Here are the outcomes of the Seminole's first four offensive drives:
- Failed 4th and 1 conversion on a QB sneak (at the Duke 36)
- Failed 4th and 1 conversion on a Trey Benson run (at the FSU 36)
- 11-play, 85-yard touchdown drive
- Pick 6 (at the FSU 6 on 3rd and 12)
They could not run the ball in the first half and were bad situationally making some crucial errors. The offense was also a combined 3/10 on third and fourth downs.
Travis had some misses to receivers that he needed to make, and they were 3-1 combined on third and fourth down. As an offense, they finished with 213 total yards in that half and only 38 of them came on the ground.
Travis also had a costly pick-six, backed up at the FSU 6 that killed the offensive momentum in the first half. The two failed conversion attempts hurt this team as well.
If they had taken more advantage of how they moved the ball in the first half, they would not have dug themselves into that 20-17 deficit. Riley Leonard exiting the game also killed the momentum that Duke had, FSU also made some good adjustments.
And outside of just simple on-field play — after missing last week, Johnny Wilson got hurt again and exited the game.