Place: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State has no choice but to forge forward without leading rusher Chris Thompson as it looks to continue its total domination of ACC rival Duke on Saturday in Tallahassee.
Thompson was lost for the season with a torn ACL in last week’s 33-20 victory over Miami, leaving the Seminoles without the ACC’s third leading rusher. The Blue Devils got back on track with a 33-30 decision over North Carolina last week after having a four-game win streak snapped at Virginia Tech the week before, but have never beaten the Seminoles in 17 meetings.
Duke Blue Devils (6-2, 3-1 ACC): With 33 points against North Carolina, the Blue Devils have now topped the 30-point mark in six of their eight games this season, putting them on pace for a school record in scoring average.
The Duke offense will have its hands full with its first top 10 opponent of the season in the Seminoles, who lead the ACC in total defense. The Blue Devils’ last win over a ranked opponent came in 1994 against No. 13 Virginia. Duke’s receiving trio of Conner Vernon, Jamison Crowder and Desmond Scott are bunched near the top of the ACC in receptions, combining for 145 catches on the year.
Florida State Seminoles (7-1, 4-1): The Seminoles will look to running back James Wilder, Jr. to carry more of the load in Thompson’s absence. The sophomore has already established himself as a scoring threat off the bench with nine total touchdowns.
Quarterback EJ Manuel leads the ACC in pass efficiency with a 169.1 rating that ranks him sixth in the nation. Junior defensive end Bjoern Werner’s eight sacks give him a share of the conference lead and tie him for fifth in the nation, 1.5 behind leader Damontre Moore of Texas A&M.
1. The Seminoles have scored 44 or more points in 14 of the 17 meetings.
2. Vernon needs 94 receiving yards to top former Florida State great Peter Warrick’s ACC career record of 3,517.
3. Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins is the ACC’s all-time leading scorer with 417 points for his career, ranking fifth among kickers in NCAA history, 22 points behind the all-time record held by Boise State’s Kyle Brotzman.