Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston
had plenty of questions to answer during the week leading up to Saturday's ACC
Following the freshman phenom's performance, the only question that remains is
who the top-ranked Seminoles will face in the BCS National Championship Game.
Winston threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another score, as No. 1
Florida State rolled to its 14th ACC Championship with a 45-7 rout of 20th-
ranked Duke at Bank of America Stadium.
On Thursday, Winston was cleared of allegations he sexually assaulted a woman
last year, a distraction that had hung over the quarterback's head since
reports of the assault initially surfaced in November.
Left to focus solely on football, Winston thrived, throwing for 330 yards on
19-of-32 efficiency while adding 59 yards on 10 carries to help the Seminoles
finish 13-0 for the first time in school history while setting the conference
and school records for wins in a season.
Winston, the clear-cut favorite to take home this year's Heisman Trophy, was
named the ACC Championship Game MVP and set a pair of individual records for
his stellar season, with his 38 TD passes and 3,820 passing yards setting FBS
Kelvin Benjamin caught five passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, while
Devonta Freeman rushed for 91 yards and a score on 18 carries for Florida
State, which will be playing in the National Championship for the first time
since winning it all during the 1999-2000 campaign.
FSU's opponent in Pasadena will be determined during Sunday's BCS Selection
Show. No. 2 Ohio State had its undefeated season derailed by Michigan State in
the Big Ten title game on Saturday, leaving the door open for the SEC-champion
Auburn Tigers to potentially sneak into the national title game.
Anthony Boone struggled under center for the Blue Devils (10-3), completing
just half of his 40 passes for 138 yards with two interceptions.
Josh Snead scored late in the fourth quarter to account for the lone touchdown
of the game for Duke, which has never beaten Florida State in 19 all-time
Florida State entered Saturday's title tilt ranked second in the nation in
scoring at 53.7 points per game, but thanks in large part to a Freeman fumble
inside the Duke 5 on FSU's second touch of the game, the Seminoles were held
scoreless in the opening quarter for the first time all season.
Winston finally got his squad on the board early in the second, converting a
3rd-and-8 from the Duke 26 with a 12-yard toss to Nick O'Leary before floating
a pass to the left side of the end zone for Benjamin, who hauled in the 14-
yard score over two Duke defenders for a 7-0 lead with 12:36 left in the half.
Jamison Crowder returned a punt 40 yards later in the frame to give Duke
excellent field position at the FSU 37, but Lamarcus Joyner picked off Boone
three plays later to give the Seminoles possession at their own 27.
Freeman extended the ensuing FSU touch with a 3-yard rumble on 3rd-and-1
before following a sack of Winston with a 22-yard catch-and-run into Duke
Winston and Benjamin got together for a 16-yard gain on 3rd-and-5 later in the
drive before Karlos Williams capped it with a 12-yard run off the right side
that saw him run over a defender at the goal line to make it 14-0 with 3:37
left in the half.
Roberto Aguayo drilled a 45-yard field goal in the final minute of the frame
to make it 17-0 in favor of the Seminoles at the break.
FSU created some separation in the third, scoring three touchdowns in a 7:14
span to build a 38-0 lead.
Telvin Smith picked off Boone at the Duke 26 on the Blue Devils' first drive
of the second half, and Winston hit Kenny Shaw for an 11-yard score three
plays later to extend the FSU lead.
Following a Duke three-and-out, Winston capped a quick 5-play sequence with a
54-yard scoring strike to Benjamin that made it 31-0 with 6:31 left in the
Boone fumbled the ball away after being sacked on Duke's next possession, and
Winston scrambled for a 17-yard score four plays later for a 38-0 spread.
Freeman added a 7-yard TD run midway through the fourth and Snead scored from
five yards out on Duke's ensuing sequence to account for the final margin.
Winston's 3,820 passing yards surpassed Brett Hundley's mark of 3,740 set last
year, while his 38 TD passes broke Sam Bradford's record of 36 set in 2007 ...
With their 14th conference crown, Florida State tied Clemson for the most
conference championships in ACC history ... Duke has never defeated a No. 1-
ranked opponent in 12 tries ... Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder caught
eight passes for 66 yards, giving him 1,197 receiving yards on the season to
set a school record ... FSU outgained Duke, 569-239.
The Sports Network