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Florida State 48, Duke 7

The SportsXchange

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's good day was made even better by what took place about 600 miles north of Tallahassee.

Behind 104 yards and two touchdowns from running back Devonta Freeman, the No. 12 Seminoles cruised to a 48-7 victory over the Duke Blue Devils at Doak Cambell Stadium. And by virtue of North Carolina's 43-35 win over North Carolina State, FSU reclaimed control of its destiny in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Atlantic Division.

UNC's Giovanni Bernard returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds to hand N.C. State its second conference loss, and if Florida State can win its final two league games -- at Virginia Tech and at Maryland -- the Seminoles will play in Charlotte on Dec. 1 for their first ACC title since 2005.

Duke brought perhaps its most talented team to ever play at Doak Campbell Stadium and one of the ACC's top passing combos in quarterback Sean Renfree and receiver Conner Vernon. But the latest edition of this series looked just like the first 17 meetings -- domination by FSU on both sides of the ball and a lopsided final score.

The Seminoles piled up 560 yards of offense and quarterback EJ Manuel threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns, despite going just 8-for-16, to help FSU achieve its first 8-1 start since 2000.

FSU was hardly perfect, though. After building up a 31-7 lead at halftime, the Seminoles got careless with the ball, fumbling it away three times on three consecutive third-quarter possessions. Florida State lost four fumbles over the course of the game and, after struggling with ball security in last week's win over Miami, has fumbled it away six times in two weeks.

The Seminoles' defense, though, made sure those miscues didn't matter much.

Renfree passed for a season-low 92 yards before leaving the game with a head injury late in the second quarter. Backup Anthony Boone fared even worse, connecting on just three of his 15 attempts.

Vernon, meanwhile, will have to wait at least another week to break former FSU star Peter Warrick's ACC record for career receiving yards. The senior from Miami came into the game needing 94 yards to reach the milestone but was held to just 12 yards on three catches, both season lows.

NOTES: Dustin Hopkins' 26-yard field goal in the second quarter gave him 80 for his career, tying him with former Maryland kicker Nick Novak for the most field goals in ACC history ... FSU scored at least 31 points in a first half for the fourth time this season ... James Wilder Jr.'s 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter gave him 10 scores for the season, making him the first Seminole to reach that mark since 2009.
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