Winston leads No. 1 FSU over No. 20 Duke 45-7

Jameis Winston and No. 1 Florida State made it look easy

again.

The Seminoles are headed to the BCS national championship game

after one of the most dominant regular seasons in college football

history.

”This whole week has been very high emotion,” Winston said.

”We wanted to win this championship so bad. We were looking

forward to having an undefeated season.”

Two days after prosecutors decided not to press charges against

him in a sexual assault case, the 19-year-old redshirt freshman

threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, and Florida State

stormed into the title game with a 45-7 victory over No. 20 Duke on

Saturday night in the ACC championship game.

The Seminoles (13-0) are expected to face Auburn in Pasadena,

Calif., on Jan. 6 after No. 2 Ohio State lost to Michigan

State.

The Heisman Trophy favorite was 19 of 32 for 330 yards and set

FBS freshman records for TD passes (38) and yards passing (3,820)

in a season.

Winston threw two touchdown passes to 6-foot-5, 234-pound

receiver Kelvin Benjamin and ran for a 17-yard score to overcome

two interceptions.

”The football field is our sanctuary,” Winston said. ”Every

time I stepped on the field, every time we stepped on that field,

everything that happened outside of our family, it was just zoned

out.”

As Queen’s ”We Are the Champions” was playing as a backdrop on

the celebration, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said: ”We’re not

champs yet.”

Florida State’s defense was dominant, holding Duke (10-3) to 239

yards and forcing three turnovers to help the Seminoles win their

second straight ACC title. The Blue Devils had eight possessions in

the first half and failed to pick up a first down on seven of

them.

”Offensively we were out of sync early,” Fisher said. ”Our

defense was the key tonight and they were absolutely

outstanding.”

It was Florida State’s 12th win by at least 27 points. The

Seminoles entered as 29-point favorites after outscoring its

opponents by an average of 43 points.

Florida State outgained Duke 569-239.

Winston struggled early with overthrowing receivers and the

Seminoles failed to score in the first quarter for the first time

this season.

Florida State’s first scoring opportunity ended when Devonta

Freeman coughed up the ball at the Duke 3 following a 22-yard

run.

But it wouldn’t matter.

Florida State slowly took charge in the second quarter and built

a 17-0 halftime lead behind a stifling defense.

Winston got the Seminoles on the board early in the second

quarter when he found Benjamin for a 14-yard touchdown pass in the

left corner of the end zone. Karlos Williams bowled over two

defenders on a 12-yard touchdown inside run to make it 14-0 after

Lamarcus Joyner intercepted Duke quarterback Anthony Boone’s

pass.

The Blue Devils simply couldn’t move the ball in the first half

and were held to 94 total yards.

Given enough chances, Winston finally made them pay.

”I don’t know if we were demoralized,” Duke coach David

Cutcliffe said. ”It’s no fun, but we competed with them. We were

on the field a little too much. You know going in that a big,

strong quarterback that moves around well will extend plays, so you

have to maintain your discipline in coverage – and we did for the

most part. But their defense does a good job of getting the other

offense off the field, and unfortunately that worked well for them

tonight.”

The onslaught continued in the second half with Winston hooking

up on a 54-yard touchdown reception with Benjamin, who showed he’s

not only big but can move too after blowing by defenders. He

finished with 119 yards receiving.

Freeman ran for 91 yards and a touchdown and Williams had 59

yards on the ground.

Winston, a redshirt freshman and the game’s MVP, was far from

perfect.

He threw two interceptions and also made a bad decision on a

shovel pass as he falling to the ground. The ball hit linebacker

Kelby Brown in the hands, but he couldn’t corral the ill-advised

pass.

There was a heated moment midway through the fourth quarter when

Winston took exception to what he felt was a late hit on the Blue

Devils after he released a pass.

Duke’s only points came with 1:01 left when Josh Snead scored on

a 5-yard run.

Boone struggled all night for the Blue Devils and finished 20 of

40 passing for 138 yards with two interceptions and one fumble

leading to 14 Florida State points.

Despite the rough night, his sprit wasn’t broken.

”This has been one heck of a year and we’ll definitely be back

here next year, I promise you that,” Boone said. ”And we’ve still

got a bowl game to win. That’s still one of our big goals for the

year. We went to a bowl game last year, got a taste of it, but this

year we want to leave with a victory and finish this year

11-3.”

Said Duke defensive end Kenny Anunike: ”This doesn’t define our

season.”

NOTES: Jamison Crowder set a new Duke single-season record in

yards receiving in the first quarter. … Florida State kicker

Robert Aguayo set a new ACC record with 142 points on the season

when he converted a 45-yard field goal late in the second quarter.

… Duke sophomore safety Dwayne Norman was flagged for targeting a

receiver with his helmet and ejected in the fourth quarter. He will

not be eligible to play in the first half of Duke’s bowl game.