TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett says his nerves have never been this shot in one month like they have been this month. For the third time in the month of October, the third-ranked Tigers won a cliffhanger in the final minutes to stay undefeated and on track to win the ACC and the College Football Playoff Championship.
The Tigers opened October with a dramatic come-from-behind win over Louisville, then tinkered with disaster before a missed kick gave them new life and an overtime win over NC State two weeks ago, and then there was Saturday’s thrilling win over Florida State.
“I have never had a season so stressful as this one is so far,” Leggett said, who was No. 3 Clemson’s hero after catching the 34-yard game-winning touchdown with 2:06 to play in the Tigers’ 37-34 victory over No. 14 Florida State. It’s the second time the tight end as caught the winning score his season, and this month for that matter.
On Oct. 1, Leggett had a 31-yard catch-and-run for the winning score in Clemson’s 42-36 victory over the then No. 4 Cardinals.
“This team is special and for some reason, we are always going to pull it no matter what,” Leggett said.
Leggett finished the game with 122 receiving yards on five catches. The 122 yards set a new career-high for the senior.
New record. Clemson won its ninth straight road win, a school record. It was also the Tigers’ 25th straight win in a non-National Championship game, 14th straight conference win, and their 22nd consecutive regular season victory.
The win was also Clemson’s seventh over a top-25 team in its last eight opportunities, and marked just the second time Clemson has beaten Florida State in Tallahassee since 1989, and the first since 2006.
Moving on up. Clemson’s senior class is now No. 2 in total victories with 43. The record is 46 by the 2015 seniors. This senior class is 27-3 against ACC teams. The record for ACC wins by a class is 28 by Clemson’s 2015 seniors.
Clemson now has 64 wins in the last six years, second only to Alabama (70) nationally. The Tigers also have consecutive wins over Florida State for the first time since winning three in a row from 2005-07.
This is the 10th different ACC road stadium Clemson has won in the last four years. This senior class is now 13-2 in ACC road games (only losses at FSU and Georgia Tech in 2014).
Another first for Watson. Deshaun Watson became the first Clemson quarterback to beat Florida State in consecutive seasons. When Clemson won in 2005-06-07, three different quarterbacks started for the Tigers.
Watson joins Charlie Whitehurst as the only starting quarterbacks to beat Florida State twice. Whitehurst did it in 2003 and 2005.
Watson has now had at least one touchdown pass in 24 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation. He also moved into third place in Clemson history in total wins by a starting quarterback. He now has 26, one more than Whitehurst.
Welcome back. Running back Wayne Gallman returned to action after a concussion suffered on the opening drive against NC State two weeks ago. The junior plunged into the end zone from a yard out to open Clemson’s scoring on the first possession.
He also scored on a two-yard plunge in the fourth quarter, which cut the FSU lead to 28-26 at the time. Gallman’s two touchdowns marked the first game he had multiple scores since the 2015 Orange Bowl win over Oklahoma.
A good place to get one. Safety Jadar Johnson claimed his team-leading fourth interception in the opening half. It was his second straight game in Doak Campbell Stadium with an interception. He had one in the 2014 meeting at Florida State as well.
—Photo Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sport