In 2015, Jordan Leggett had a career game against Florida State. He led the Tigers in receiving with 101 yards, just the second time in school history that a tight end surpassed the 100-yard threshold.
On Saturday, the junior supplied an appropriate encore. This time, he did it in hostile territory, in his home state.
Leggett now has two of Clemson’s three 100-plus-yard receiving games after snagging six passes for a team-high 122 yards and the game-winning touchdown with 2:06 to play in the third-ranked Tigers’ heart-stopping 37-34 win at No. 12 Florida State on Saturday night. Obviously, the total was a career high for Leggett, as well as the third-best receiving game of the season for a Clemson pass-catcher.
After using Leggett to exploit the soft spots of the Seminoles’ coverage a year ago, the Tigers went back to the well with the senior early in this one. The tight end split a cover-two look from the safeties with a seam route on Clemson’s first drive of the game, netting 41 yards—his longest catch of the game—and setting up a quick one-yard touchdown.
Leggett was not done contributing to scoring drives. His 11-yard catch in the second quarter helped set up a short Greg Huegel field goal that gave the Tigers a 17-7 advantage. Those were his only two targets of the first half.
After coming up empty in the third quarter, Leggett shone brightest when Clemson needed reliability down the stretch. On the Tigers’ final drive, Leggett—the Florida native who passed up the NFL to return for his senior season—was Deshaun Watson’s favorite target.
He hauled in a 25-yard pass on the first play on a similar play to his first catch—a route down the seam between the second and third levels of coverage. Then, on a critical third-and-five play from the FSU 45, Leggett picked up 11 yards on a simple stop route.
Just moments after celebrating the play by signaling first down, Leggett ran a post-corner route toward the right sideline. A coverage bust by the Seminoles left him wide open. Leggett caught the ball, turned upfield, and headed toward the pylon. A defender was in his way, but the tight end hurled his body over the defensive back, used his left hand—the one that was not holding the ball—to propel himself, and extended the ball across the goal line.
His 34-yard touchdown gave Clemson the lead that would ultimately be the final margin, cementing Leggett’s status as one of the most prominent Florida State killers in Tiger football lore.
Photo Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports