Here are five numbers to note as third-ranked Clemson prepares to take on 14th-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee on Saturday.
The game kicks off at 8:22 p.m. and will be broadcast on ABC.
6.2: Yards per play allowed by the Florida State defense this season. That average is the worst in the Atlantic Coast Conference and pales in comparison to the great Seminole defenses of the past. Great teams typically have disparities between their offensive and defensive yards per play, but that’s not reality for the Seminoles this season. An ineffective rush defense and issues in deep coverage have the Noles slotted 13th in the ACC on the defensive side, only one-tenth of a yard beneath their team average on offense. The Tigers should have opportunities to make big plays throughout Saturday’s game.
12: Trips to Tallahassee for the Clemson football program since it was the higher ranked team. The Tigers won that game 35-24 back in 1989 as the tenth-ranked team in the country against a Florida State program that found itself ranked 16th nationally. Since that point, the Seminoles have been ranked in all but one meeting between the squads in Tallahassee. Eight different times, Florida State has been ranked inside the top ten, while the Tigers have been ranked that high only twice. In fact, Clemson’s number three ranking represents the first time it will step inside Doak Campbell ranked higher than tenth place in the Associated Press poll.
21: Sacks allowed by Florida State this season. This ranks at the bottom of the ACC and puts the Seminoles among the worst teams in the nation. Such a porous pass-blocking track record could foreshadow impending doom for Deondre Francois against a Clemson defense that ranks at the top of the ACC with 25 sacks. The Seminoles can get after opposing passers, too, racking up 24 sacks during the course of the season. However, the Tigers have been much better at keeping Deshaun Watson clean. Clemson’s offensive line has allowed only seven sacks all season long, and astonishingly, none of them have come in obvious passing situations.
30: Receptions for FSU wide receiver Jesus Wilson. That total ranks second on the team, as does his total of 390 receiving yards. Wilson is also a valuable special teams component that boasts a punt return touchdown this season and ranks fourth in the country in punt return average. Given his value, the news this week that Wilson will miss Saturday’s primetime showdown with a foot injury sustained against Wake Forest two weeks ago. The Seminoles will try to replace his contributions with a combination of other talented players, but Jimbo Fisher won’t find a substitute for Wilson’s 26 career starts—most among FSU’s offensive players.
101: Receiving yards for Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett last season against Florida State. That performance was the best of his career and only the second time in program history that a tight end eclipsed the 100-yard mark. The Tigers used Leggett to exploit a perceived weakness in coverage they saw from the Seminoles’ linebackers, and the effort proved fruitful. Many of those same issues remain, so Leggett could be equally as valuable to the Tigers in a road game this week against a defense that returns several of those same players.