An early test for both Clemson and Florida State in the season (and top 10 showdown) pivoted a high powered offense (Clemson) against a stout defense (Florida State)
Clemson received the ball to start the game and wasted no time
showing why they are one of the best offensive teams in the nation as
they went 75 yards in 5 plays and Clemson quarterback Taji Boyd hit
Deandre Hopkins for a 60 yard bomb to give Clemson an early 7-0 lead.
Florida State however, wasted no time responding as E.J. Manuel
drove the Seminoles down the field in 6 plays for 85 yards and capped
off the drive with a 13 yard run by Lonnie Pyror, as FSU wasted no time
in responding to Clemson's quick scoring drive with one of their own to
tie it up at 7-7.
But Clemson wouldn't flinch, as they responded with another quick
scoring drive that was finished off with an Andre Ellington TD rush, to
quickly give the lead back to the Tigers, 14-7.
After a missed field goal, which was followed with a defensive stop
by Florida State.(which included two sacks, both by Cornellius
Carradine) the Seminoles had two big plays; A Chris Thompson 41 yard
run, and a 28 yd pass from Manuel to Nick O'Leary to set up a 5 yd. TD
run by James Wilder Jr and tie the game back up at 14 all.
A defensive stand by the Seminoles that would force Clemson to punt,
FSU Punt Returner(name) muffed the punt and Clemson recovered. The
Tigers made sure to take advantage of FSU's miscue, taking four plays
to score when Boyd connected with Brandon Ford on a 17 Yd Td Pass.
Right before the end of the half, Florida State was driving and
looked as if they were going to score as they were inside the 20, but a
penalty by the Seminoles cost them 10 seconds (since it was less than
one minute) Florida State looked to tie it up, but Manuel overthrew
Kelvin Benjamin in the end zone and the Noles had to settle for a FG
attempt, unfortunately for Florida State, Placekicker Dustin Hopkins
missed his second field goal of the game as time expired at the end of
the first half.
Florida State received the ball at the start of the second half. After a couple plays and a new set of downs, they were forced to punt to Clemson. A few plays later, the Tigers had a trick up their sleeves when Boyd hand the ball off to Sammy Watkins who then threw the ball across to the field to Andre Ellington who then scampered in the endzone to give Clemson a two touchdown lead.
Florida State didn't hesitate to respond, as they quickly made it a 7 point game again after a 9 yard TD run by Chris Thompson which was highlighted by a 64 yd pass from Manuel to Benjamin from the scoring drive.
Clemson would follow up with a 50 yard field goal from Chandler Catanzaro. Making it a 10 point game in favor of the Tigers.
Florida State's defense bent and did not break, and on the kickoff return Lamarcus Joyner returned the kick for 89 yards to the Clemson 10. Two plays later Manuel hooked up with Rashad Greene for a TD, now cutting the deficit to three.
Florida State then finally forced their first 3 & out after Clemson failed to move the chains on the ensuing possession.
Florida State's offense then looked to capitalize off the defense's big stop. After a TD run was nullified, Florida State was pushed back to the 29, but then on the very next play Manuel went through the air to Rodney Smith, giving the Seminoles their first lead of the night 35-31
Florida State's defense rose to the challenge again and forced another three and out. The Seminoles looked to get control of the game as the momentum slowly began towards them.
After several plays, James Wilder Jr. burst through the Clemson defense all the way down to the 9. Two plays later, Wilder Jr. ran the ball in from five yards out as Florida State had now scored touchdowns on their last 4 possessions and now giving the Seminoles a 42-31 lead.
As the game continued to progress, the Seminoles defense began to dominate Clemson, as they had just forced Clemson to their third consecutive 3 & out. After seemingly catching a break and recovering a Florida State fumble, Clemson turns right back around and throws an interception. Then on the ensuing play, Chris Thompson raced to the end zone adding on to their(Florida State) lead by putting themselves up by 18.
Florida State's Defense ended up being too much for the Tigers offense to get themselves back into a game where they were up by as many as 10. Florida State once again forced Clemson to another three and out.
Clemson went on to score a late TD, but it obviously would not be enough as Florida State came back from behind and took total control of the game in the Second Half and went on to win by the final score of 49-37. Moving Florida State to 4-0 (1-0 conference play) while Clemson fell to 3-1(0-1 in Conference play)
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