Andrew Tie looks at numbers from the box score and records set during the ACC title game.
The ACC title game between Florida State and Duke looked pretty simple on the surface - the No. 1 Seminoles simply dominated the No. 20 Blue Devils to a 45-7 win. There are some interesting tidbits looking closer at the numbers. Let's break down the box score and look at some records set.
At the top of the final box score, there's a glaring statistic. FSU had 31 first downs compared to Duke's 15.
Duke's offense has thrived this season by using a balanced attack through the air and the ground. Coming into the game, the Blue Devils averaged 180 yards/game and 4.5 yards/rush. But FSU's D-Line got the better of Duke, holding it to 99 yards on 3.2 yards/rush. Meanwhile, FSU ground out 239 yards on 5.6 yards/rush.
The one bright spot in the run game for Duke was sophomore RB Shaquille Powell, who had 44 yards on eight rushes (5.5 yards/rush). The three other running backs (Juwan Thompson, Jela Duncan, Josh Snead) averaged just 2.9 yards/rush.
In the air, Duke came into the game averaging 242 yards/game and 11.7 yards/catch, but FSU's strong secondary held it to just 140 yards and 6.7 yards/catch. Compared to the year averages, that's a net loss of 183 yards in total offense for the Blue Devils.
Duke's inability to get drives going really hurt it in the first half. Aside from one 15-play drive that ended with a missed field goal, the Blue Devils had no first-half drive that went for more than three plays. Six were three-and-outs, and one ended with an Anthony Boone interception.
Duke TE Braxton Deaver: I think that we did a good job in the first half, but to compete and to play close with a team like that, you have to compete down to the wire. You've got to go toe-to-toe with the best kids in the country and play to win the game, and I think that we slipped off and weren't able to compete as well as we wanted to.
Duke actually had a chance to strike first. On its third drive, which would end in a missed field goal, Jela Duncan dropped an easy catch that would've likely put the Blue Devils inside the FSU 10-yard line, knocking on the door. Instead, Duke settled for a field goal attempt, which missed wide right.
Duke QB Anthony Boone: "You've just got to get points where you can, and try to catch a rhythm, and we missed the points, and we didn't get a rhythm going."
In special teams, Duke also had a a great opportunity off a Jamison Crowder punt return. In the 2nd quarter with the game only 7-0 FSU, Cason Beatty punted to Crowder. Beatty hit a booming 52-yard punt but outkicked his coverage, allowing Crowder room for a 40-yard return. But Duke couldn't capitalize on that opportunity. Boone would throw the aforementioned interception on the third play, squandering the great field position for the Blue Devils.
Despite Jameis Winston's impressive stat line (330 yards passing, three touchdowns), Duke's secondary actually had a productive game. The Blue Devils are incredibly young in the secondary two-deep, but those guys were the ones making plays Saturday. Six of Duke's top 10 tacklers were underclassmen corners or safeties. That group (Jeremy Cash, Deondre Singleton, DeVon Edwards, Dwayne Norman, Breon Borders, Bryon Fields) combined for 31 tackles, one sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, one FR, two picks and two pass breakups.
As I noted in my story from the game, FSU struggled in the turnovers and penalties, areas which usually signifcantly decrease a team's chance of winning. FSU doubled Duke in penalties (6-3) and tied in turnovers (3-3).
With a win, Florida State pushed its record to 13-0. This is the first time any ACC team has reached this plateau. Previously, FSU reached 12 wins in a season three times (1994, 2000, 2012), while Clemson did it once (1981). Meanwhile, even though Duke lost, its 10 wins on the season is a school record.
FSU kicker Robert Aguayo scored nine points off six PATs and one field goal. That pushed his season total to 146 and topped the ACC single-season record set by FSU's Dustin Hopkins just last year (140).
Seminoles punter Cason Beatty kicked a 59-yard punt in the first quarter, which was a personal best for him.
The Seminoles have scored 689 points on the year, which is the third-highest ever in FBS history. Only Oklahoma (716, 2008) and Houston (690, 2011) have more points. With FSU averaging 53 points/game, that record is in danger of falling in the national championship game.
Jameis Winston set the ACC single-season passing TD record with 38, topping Clemson's Tajh Boyd 2012 total of 36. That also set an FBS freshman record. Winston's 3,820 passing yards set an FBS freshman record as well.
Winston: It means a lot, but as a teammate and having the guys right here beside me, our team is trying to make history. We're not trying to look at individual stats and things like that.
But it's not all about offense. The Seminoles defense, No. 1 in scoring defense and No. 2 in total defense in the ACC, is only giving up 10.69 points/game. That's the lowest average allowed by an ACC defense since North Carolina in 1996 (10.0).
FSU RB Karlos Williams: Seeing the defense hold them to no points, that just gives the offense more momentum to go out there and just execute on plays.
That young secondary of Duke also set a record. Freshman CB Breon Borders had two picks, giving him four on the year - a Duke freshman record.
Duke WR Jamison Crowder has also had a great year. He set Duke's single-season receiving record with 1,197 yards, beating Clarkston Hines' old mark (1,149, 1989).
This was the first time FSU hadn't scored in the first quarter since the Florida game last year. That's an impressive stat for Duke's defense.