Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney did not sugarcoat it when he described the way his defense played against No. 19 Florida State on Saturday night. The third-ranked Tigers did not play their best game. In fact, they played perhaps their worst game this season.
They were called for multiple pass inference penalties, they gave up 449 yards and allowed nine plays of 20 or more yards, including runs of 38, 43 and 70 yards to running backs Dalvin Cook and Freddie Stevenson.
Before Saturday’s 37-34 victory over the Seminoles, Clemson had allowed just 22 explosive plays in the first seven games.
“I thought we played hard, but the biggest issue is we gave up those three long runs,” Swinney said on Sunday during his weekly teleconference call with the media. “We just did not set the edge. It was just simple. We got a little thick and we got a little heavy.”
The runs allowed Cook to run for 169 yards and four touchdowns, including 136 and three scores in the second half.
“There were three different guys and three times, where we just did not quite set the edge on the perimeter, and boy, you have to do that against those types of backs,” Swinney said. “You let (Cook) get around the edge, and he can take it to the house obviously.”
As for the penalties, Swinney said they really cost them, too. He said those, along with the big runs, allowed FSU to stay in the game.
“We have to do a better job and clean up some of the technique and when those competitive plays present themselves when they do then we need to do them with the right technique,” Swinney said. “But, some of those go against you and some of them go for you.”
Injury report: Swinney said there was nothing too serious, but several players were banged up in the win over the Seminoles.
Defensive back Marcus Edmond injured his toe, defensive back Trayvon Mullen rolled his ankle on the first kickoff and safety Jadar Johnson has a calf strain.
Swinney all three players will be evaluated on Monday, but he feels they will all be available to play against Syracuse next week.
Players of the Week. Tight end Jordan Leggett was named the offensive player of the week by the Clemson coaches, while Clelin Ferrell was named the defensive player of the game and Greg Huegel and Chad Smith were the special teams players.
Staying the same. Clemson remained No. 3 in both the Associated Press and the Amway Coaches Top 25 Polls on Sunday. The College Football Playoff Committee will release its first rankings on Tuesday. The Tigers are expected to be inside the top 4 when the poll debuts.
Clemson opened the CFB Playoff Poll No. 1 last year and remained in the top spot in all six weeks of the rankings.
Syracuse kick time announced. The ACC announced on Sunday that the Syracuse at Clemson game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday in Death Valley and will be televised by ESPN 2 and ABC as part of its split national coverage.