Former Duke running back Re’quan Boyette picks against the BDN Staff as we tackle the nation’s ten toughest games!
Mark Watson – FSU has lost to three really good teams and the Duke secondary is banged up. What does that mean? Duke is getting better and closer to competing with traditional ACC powers but there has yet to be that breakthrough win. FSU will try to jump on Duke from the start and if they get out to a two score advantage, the upset bid will be halted early on. However, if Duke can go into the locker room close, anything can happen. I am hoping for that breakthrough win, but feel it will be an FSU team with it’s back against the wall FSU 37, Duke 23.
Bob Green - Florida State is reeling from three straight losses and has dropped out of the Top 25 after opening the season ranked number five in the country. Conversely, Duke is riding a three game winning streak. The Seminoles struggle to run the ball as evidenced by their last place ranking in the ACC (they average 12 less yards per game than Duke), and they have been bitten hard by the turnover bug. Florida State is minus seven on the year in Turnover Margin, which is also last in the ACC. However, the Seminoles lead the ACC in Passing Offense at 325 yards per game, while Duke is last in Passing Defense giving up 278 yards per game. Duke’s defensive line must apply pressure on QB E.J. Manuel and the secondary must not give up big plays. Moreover, forcing turnovers will be important. On offense, the Blue Devils, who are number two in the ACC in Time of Possession, must be able to convert first downs in order to sustain drives and keep Florida State’s offense off the field. Finally, Duke must take the field with a winning attitude and attack Florida State by throwing the ball down the field. I’m expecting a big day from QB Sean Renfree and the Dynamic Duo of Conner Vernon and Donovan Varner. Duke 34, FSU 30.
Patrick Cacchio - The Blue Devils have won 3 games in a row, but are 0-16 all-time against the Seminoles. One of those streaks is destined to end on Saturday. Florida State has struggled with turnovers this season, but the Blue Devil defense has been unable to consistently create turnovers. If Duke is able to force a few costly turnovers, there could be an upset brewing in Wallace Wade Stadium. After three straight losses and a healthier E.J. Manuel, expect the Seminoles to have a strong bounce-back performance against Duke. Both teams will have success on offense, and the opportunistic defense will emerge the victor. FSU 31, Duke 24.
Andrew Slater - For the seventeenth meeting of these two programs, this will be a test of the value of momentum. The Duke Blue Devils have won three consecutive games, while traditional power Florida State has not won a football game since September 10th. The Seminoles have won all six prior meetings at Wallace Wade, but this time may be the Devils best chance yet at pulling the massive upset against the Tallahassee school. The Seminoles have lost their starting running back and four-year blind side tackle, the latter may prove to be more problematic in the short-term as FSU is reliant on a pass-happy offense (325.4 passing yds per game). The game features two of the ACC’s most talented quarterbacks, Sean Renfree and E.J. Manuel, and the game should be an exciting game for fans of high-octane offenses. For the Devils, the concern remains a banged-up secondary battling the Seminoles’ strength. FSU 38, Duke 24.
Re’quan Boyette - Coming off the bye week Duke is back healthy and gaining more firepower in the backfield that will be needed to get a win over FSU. After watching them against Wake Forest last week, running the ball and dominating the line of scrimmage is key to pulling off a big ACC win! The defense will need to get pressure on EJ Manuel and not give up the big play. Secondary will have to stay ready as FSU has a talented freshman receiver. Special Teams will also be a big part to the Blue Devils going 2-0 in the ACC. I believe Duke can win this game and make a huge statement in the ACC. Duke 31, FSU 25.