By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris made it clear, Saturday’s 8 p.m. showdown against No. 5 Florida State is not just any ole game for the third-ranked Tigers.
“No! No! It’s on,” Morris said to the media on Monday. “This is what it is about. This is what you coach for. We told our guys this morning that as you grow up as a kid, you want to play in top-five matchups like you have.
“There are not many opportunities in a coaching career that you get these moments. It’s the same way from a players’ standpoint, so heck yeah it’s a big deal and it is the biggest game of the year.”
The biggest game of the year is also the biggest game ever in Death Valley as it will matchup two teams in the top 5 for the first time.
“I’m jacked up right now. I’m ready,” Morris said. “Heck yeah, that’s our personality. That’s my personality. I was excited last week. This is just another opportunity for us to get better and to do it against a great opponent.”
Though the coaches seem to think Saturday’s game is more than just another game, the players, at least in front of the media, don’t seem to feel the same way.
“This is just another game to us,” running back Roderick McDowell said. “But even though it is just another game, the atmosphere and everything else will be bigger than what we saw this year. I guess the Georgia game was a big game. Game Day was here.
“But this game right here is bigger than the Georgia game so I’m ready for the atmosphere and everything else that comes with it. That’s why you come to Clemson, to play in games like this.”
This game will have more than divisional or conference championship aspirations on the line. The winner will also be a national title contender, while the loser is subjected to second place in the conference and at best an at-large Bowl Championship Series game at berth.
Florida State (5-0, 3-0 ACC) brings in a seven-game winning streak dating back to last year and is leading the ACC in scoring and total offense.
Clemson (6-0, 4-0) also brings in a seven-game winning streak and carries the longest winning streak in conference play with 11 straight ACC games. That is the longest such streak since Clemson won 20 straight against ACC foes from 1981-84.
“We are just excited about the opportunity,” Morris said. “These guys have worked extremely hard to get to this point. One thing we talked to our guys about and we talked to them last week about this, but some guys come in here and think they were the only ones who have worn the Tiger Paw.
“We talk to them about where they are today is because of the players have worn this Tiger Paw before you and don’t ever forget that. A lot of people had to go through blood, sweat and tears and some down seasons to get to where we are today. They are just as much a part of where we are at as our current players… A lot of our guys were not here for that 6-7 season. They walked in here with a silver spoon in their mouth because we have had the success we have had. They don’t understand what it was like a few years ago. I think some guys have lost a little hunger. So anyway, I’m excited? I’m extremely excited!”