TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Charlie Ward threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth score Saturday night as Florida State made its Atlantic Coast Conference debut with a 48-21 victory over Duke.
Ward, a junior making his first start, also threw four interceptions and killed a Seminole drive with a fumble. He completed 17 of 33 passes for 267 yards, and rushed nine times for 84 yards.
Opening-night jitters hurt both squads -- especially Florida State, which threw three interceptions, gave up a 60-yard touchdown pass and had Matt Frier's 85-yard touchdown reception called back by a clipping penalty. Duke blew a touchdown when Brad Breedlove dropped a Steve Prince pass in the end zone.
Duke threatened in the opening minutes when Tee Edwards intercepted a Ward pass and the Blue Devils marshed to the Florida State 12. After Breedlove's missed TD pass, FSU's Leon Fowler intercepted at the Duke 6 and raced untouched for a 7-0 lead.
Florida State's Clifton Abraham blocked a Tim Davis punt with five minutes left in the first quarter, and Chris Hall pounced on it at the 20. But Edwards stole another Ward pass at the 12 for Duke.
But Randy Cuthbert promptly fumbled and Marvin Jones recovered at the 11 for Florida State. Three plays later, Ward faked a pass and scampered 6 yards into the end zone himself.
Duke got its first touchdown on its next possession, when Spence Fischer replaced Prince and drilled a 60-yard TD strike to Jon Jensen. Kicker Randy Gardner missed a 45-yard fieldgoal attempt in the opening minutes of the second half.
Dan Mowrey booted a 38-yard field goal for Florida State early in the second period, and Ward made the score 24-7 by flipping a 6-yard scoring strike to Kez McCorvey with a minute left in the half.
After Ward and McCorvey combined for their 19-yard touchdown toss to put FSU up 31-7, Breedlove returned the kickoff 83 yards for Duke and Fischer hit Ray Wright with a 13-yard scoring pass midway in the third period.
Mowrey added a 30-yard field goal with five minutes left in the game. Ward hit McCorvey again, from 20 yards out, with just under two minutes remaining.
Robert Baldwin finished the game with a 3-yard touchdown run for Duke with 45 seconds on the clock.