Over the course of decades and years upon years of a college football conference series between two teams, even in one-sided matchups, normally both teams can muster at least one win. Even Vanderbilt beat Alabama, Kansas beat Oklahoma, and Kentucky beat Florida at least once.
But in the ACC, never has Duke vanquished Florida State on the gridiron. FSU is truly unconquered with a 20-0 record against the Blue Devils. Other than the latest meeting in 2017, the Seminoles won the first 19 games by two touchdowns or more every single time.
As many of Florida State’s matchup histories began, FSU first took on Duke in 1992 in their inaugural game in the ACC. Stereotypes of the two schools were completely accurate, as the Blue Devils (2-9 in football in 1992) were fresh off back-to-back national titles in hoops, and the Noles were in the midst of their famed Dynasty run.
Speaking of basketball, Seminole guard and new starting quarterback Charlie Ward teamed up with star linebacker Marvin Jones for a 48-21 thrashing of Duke in the first game between the two. Jones had 13 tackles and a sack to kick off his immaculate junior year. Along with taking home the Butkus and Lombardi Awards, he finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting that season.
Florida State rolled up 628 total yards and forced 4 turnovers in 1993, Kez McCorvey caught 10 passes for 207 yards in 1994, and the Noles laid 70 on Duke in Orlando in 1995. The next year, FSU faced Duke the first week of September (for the fourth time in five years) and again they were victorious by a wide margin. Duke mustered only 91 total yards in the 44-7 loss.
In 1997, Duke went up 7-0 early but their lead was short-lived when quarterback Thad Busby threw a touchdown and ran for two more as part of a 35-0 run in the first half. Noles cruised 51-27. FSU took out their frustrations from an upset loss to N.C. State a week prior to pound the Blue Devils 62-13 in 1998.
The Peter Warrick show (3 touchdowns in the first quarter) was on a marathon in 1999, Chris Weinke wowed Heisman voters with 536 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2000, and Duke was on their way to another 0-11 season with an opening loss to FSU in 2001. Over 30 different Noles registered a tackle in a 48-17 win the next year.
Improving to 5-0 in 2003, FSU symmetrically put up 14 points in all four quarters of another blowout. Duke used strong red zone defense the next season to hold Florida State under 40 points for the first time. It was only 9-7 at half but the Noles turned it on with a 20-0 second half.
Quarterbacks Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee each had 2 touchdown passes while 14 players caught a pass in 2005, Duke threw four interceptions in another snoozer in 2006, and in 2007 Gary Cismesia connected on five field goals as a senior just as he did his freshman year three years earlier.
A different coach for Florida State in 2011, but the same result: Jimbo Fisher kept up legend Bobby Bowden’s tradition with a beatdown of Duke. Sophomore wideout Rashad Greene caught a 71-yard touchdown early in the first quarter in 2012 to kick off another blowout.
Only Duke stood in the way of Florida State’s berth in the final BCS National Championship game in 2013. Ranked #20 and later going on to win their bowl for the first 10-win season in school history, Duke and #1 FSU faced off for the only time in the ACC Championship.
Running back Karlos Williams barreled over Blue Devil defenders for a key touchdown run, and Jameis Winston removed all doubt about the Heisman Trophy with a 3-touchdown third quarter. Winston toppled over the goal line for the third touchdown, a 17-yard run. He had 330 yards passing.
In the most recent matchup between the schools, Duke finally made it a game. Tied at 10-10 for much of the second half, true freshman running back Cam Akers busted a 42-yard touchdown run to win the game and preserve the perfect FSU record. Current linebacker Emmett Rice had an interception in the game.
On Saturday, Florida State (2-6, 1-6 ACC) takes on Duke (2-8, 1-8 ACC) in their second-to-last contest in 2020. This will be the 21st meeting between the schools.
Year-By-Year Results (FSU 20 Wins, Duke 0)
1992: Florida State 48, Duke 21
1993: Florida State 45, Duke 7
1994: Florida State 59, Duke 20
1995: Florida State 70, Duke 26
1996: Florida State 44, Duke 7
1997: Florida State 51, Duke 27
1998: Florida State 62, Duke 13
1999: Florida State 51, Duke 23
2000: Florida State 63, Duke 14
2001: Florida State 55, Duke 13
2002: Florida State 48, Duke 17
2003: Florida State 56, Duke 7
2004: Florida State 29, Duke 7
2005: Florida State 55, Duke 24
2006: Florida State 51, Duke 24
2007: Florida State 25, Duke 6
2011: Florida State 41, Duke 16
2012: Florida State 48, Duke 7
2013: Florida State 45, Duke 7
2017: Florida State 17, Duke 10