Freshman quarterback Clint Trickett put up a fight in the first start of his career, and the offensive line performed miracles until the final play for the #11 Florida State Seminoles (2-2). The game ended 35-30 and #21 Clemson (4-0) pulled off another upset.
A failed 2-point conversion left the Noles with a 5 point deficit. Fast forward, it's just under 2 minutes and 4th and 4, excuse me - false start, 4th and 9 - and the pocket Collapses. Turn over on downs and Clemson runs out the clock. Students rush the field and I'm glad I stayed home to study instead of making the trip to Death Valley.
Florida State was plagued by penalties all game, par the course if you're the Seminoles, and the running game was still non existent. Chris Thompson ran out of the wildcat in his first game of the season, but only for 36 yards. Compared to Clemson's 111 yards rushing, that was the game changer. The Tiger offense found two touchdowns in their running game, which was enough to distract the FSU defense and open up the secondary. Without that crutch to lean on, Clemson's defense only needed to be one-dimensional, giving them the edge.
If there is a bright side, Trickett (24/38) passed for 336 yards with 3 TDs - matching Clemson's Tahj Boyd (23/37, 344 yds, 3 TDs). Special teams was likely decent, 30 yards on each kick return, no missed field goals and 5 punts for 214 yards. The year is not lost, a decent bowl or incredible ACC blunders could give FSU a chance, but "Surviving despite injuries" will be FSU's swan song for the rest of the season. It's not over, but the wind has certainly been sucked out of the sails.
Clemson is now undefeated through four games, including Auburn and Florida State. If they can take down #13 Virginia tech next week on the road, they could find themselves undefeated in the regular season. Good for the ACC, painful for Florida State.