It was a tough day for the Duke offense, as neither quarterback Anthony Boone (7) nor injured starter Sean Renfree could generate any momentum. Credit: STEVE CANNON, AP
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Duke was held to a season-low in both total yards and passing yards. But one Blue Devil had the most productive day of his young career.
Entering the game, freshman wide receiver Max McCaffrey had zero catches. By the time the first half was over, he had two.
McCaffrey, the son of 13-year NFL veteran Ed McCaffrey, caught the two longest passes Sean Renfree threw. The first was a 13-yard completion on Duke’s opening drive, and the second was a drive-extending, 18-yard catch on third down on the Blue Devils’ lone scoring drive.
McCaffrey said he didn’t know ahead of time that he would play a bigger role in the offense.
“I just came out, and I’m always standing on the sideline ready to go in if they need me,” he said. “I’m just trying to do my part.”
On a day when Duke threw for a season-low 129 yards, McCaffrey was the Duke’s third-leading receiver with his two catches for 31 yards. Conner Vernon was held to a season-low three catches for 12 yards. Sophomore tight end Issac Blakeney caught a team-leading (and career-high) four catches for 38 yards. Overall, this was the first time this season Duke failed to generate at least 300 yards of offense, as the Florida State defense limited the Blue Devils to 232 total yards.
Desmond Scott completes 1,000-yard trio
Long after the game had been decided, Desmond Scott made history in the fourth quarter with his seven-yard reception from Anthony Boone. That catch gave him 1,001 career reception yards, which complement his 1,159 rushing and 1,114 career kickoff return yards. Scott is just the third player in ACC history to top 1,000 in all three categories, joining Virginia Frank Quale, who played in the late 1960s, and Clemson’s CJ Spiller.
“That’s a great feeling to have,” he said. “Too bad we came out on the losing end today. Could have made that feeling a whole lot better, but you know, it is what it is, it’s in the history books. You move on as a player and as a team.”
Odds and ends
Duke is the only ACC team to never beat Florida State…Desmond Scott wasn’t the only player to make ACC history, as Florida State senior kicker Dustin Hopkins booted a 56-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, giving him an ACC-best 81 career field goals. Hopkins has scored a total of 429 career points, which is 11 points shy of the NCAA career leader, former Boise State kicker Kyle Bozman.
Duke right tackle Perry Simmons had a particularly tough day, as he was personally responsible for four of Duke's 10 penalties penalties. Simmons was flagged for back-to-back false starts when Duke had third-and-6 on the Florida State 20-yard line (Duke did score it's touchdown on that drive, but Sean Renfree was injured two plays later on the fourth-down pass conversion). Simmons was also flagged for two holding calls and was replaced after the second by John Coleman.
*This was Florida State's first homecoming win of the Jimbo Fisher era. The Seminoles lost to North Carolina and Virginia in their previous two homecoming games. And while the game was not a sellout (there were 71,467 tickets distributed, and Doak S. Campbell stadium holds 82,300), it will likely the largest crowd Duke plays in front of this year.
*Duke players and coaches alike were all succinct in their assessment of the game: Florida State was the better team. Period. "They’re a talented football team," senior defensive Kenny Anunike. "I feel like we both game ready to play. We just got beat. Flat-out." Anunike had his personal streak of recording at least a half-sack in every game this season snapped Saturday.