After almost a month, Clemson returns to Death Valley on Saturday, as the Tigers welcome Florida State to town.
Clemson is looking for a sixth straight win over the Seminoles, and are already the first ACC team to win five straight against them in conference competition. However, at this point, it seems this a game of two teams headed in opposite directions.
Clemson (4-3, 3-2) comes in still looking for an offensive identity. That’s right. Seven games in and this team is still trying to find something, anything, it can have consistent success with.
Florida State, on the other hand, comes in winners of three straight, and after struggling to find their own identity early on, they seemed to have found one during the current winning streak. The Seminoles have run for more than 200 yards in each of the past three wins, and with each passing week seem to be playing with more and more confidence.
They have been very successful running on first down in recent weeks. After struggling to convert on third down to start the season, they have been much better of late, due to that success. Over the past three games they have converted 19-34 third downs.
Running backs Jashaun Corbin and Treshaun Ward give the Seminoles a very formidable one-two puch in the backfield. Both are averaging well over seven yards per carry. Quarterback Jordan Travis is a capable runner in his own right, averaging more than five yards per game.
If the Tigers are going to win this game, they must slow down that rushing attack and make Travis beat them with his arm. Brent Venables’ defense gave up 400 yards of offense for the first time all season one week ago in a loss to Pitt. 164 of those yards came on the ground. That can not happen again, and it will not.
While some may claim this Clemson team has very little left to play for this season, that just isn’t the case. The Tigers are still alive in the race for the Atlantic, barely, but even more important than that, this team still has its pride to play for. And make no mistake, this team will be motivated for this game.
Everyone remembers the controversy surrounding last season’s cancelation. Dabo Swinney basically accused the Florida State administration of being scared to play, and there were many on the outside that felt the same way.
While both coaches are saying all the right things leading into this game, don’t think Swinney, nor those players, have forgotten. Emotions will be high.
While that motivation isn’t likely to lead to some kind of offensive explosion, a highly motivated Clemson defense will be tough to run on, and that’s where the Tigers win this game. Travis will not be able to beat them through the air.
Expect another close, low scoring affair, with the Clemson offense making one or two more plays than the Florida State offense. However, once again, its Venables’ defense that rules the day.
Clemson 20 Florida State 13
Sam Clemons: Injuries, injuries, injuries. I’ve never seen a season like 2021. It has reached the point that there might not be the “next man up.” That said, unless the offense can connect all the dots, FSU has a chance, but not much of a chance. Dabo Swinney and the Tigers have been waiting an entire year to face FSU. I believe Mike Norvell and the Seminoles are going to get a huge payback for the sudden cancellation of last year’s contest and this will be a great motivator. The offense improves, the defense continues to dominate.
Clemson 28 Florida State 10
Freddie Huth: If there was one game that was circled last year, not only by fans but also by Dabo Swinney and the players, it’s this one. Even during an odd season like this, where the Tigers have been decimated by injuries and the offense that can’t seem to get the basics done right, I still believe the Tigers take all of their frustrations out on the Seminoles and score a season high at home.
Clemson 34 Florida State 7
Ted Jackson: Clemson’s offense seemingly can’t get out of its own way. A dropped pass here, whiffed block there, penalties, etc, and all on crucial plays. It’s hard to be consistent like that, and the problems are across the board at every position. The defense continues to play at an elite level despite all the injuries and the inability of the offense to stay on the field. Speaking of injuries, the entire team has starters missing, many for the year. Continuity has been and will continue to be a challenge. The Tigers find a way to win in another fairly close battle.
Clemson 20 FSU 16
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