FSU mauls Duke, locks up BCS title game slot

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Another game, another blowout for Florida State.

And now Jameis Winston and the Seminoles have one more challenge ahead — a date with Auburn in the national championship.

Jameis Winston threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, and No. 1 Florida State stormed into the title game with a 45-7 victory over 20th-ranked Duke on Saturday night in the ACC championship game. The Seminoles 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 and yards passing in a season two days after prosecutors decided not to press charges against him in a sexual assault case.

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.

“I love my team,” Winston told Seminoles fans. “It means we’re going to the next level.”

As Queen’s “We Are the Champions” was playing as a backdrop on the celebration, 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 (13-0) win their second straight ACC title.

“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 that forced Duke to go three-and-out on seven of its eight first-half possessions.

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