No. 2 Clemson at Florida State
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Clemson’s senior class is looking to make history when the second-ranked Tigers head to Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday to take on Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium.
No Atlantic Coast Conference school, as a member of the conference, has beat the Seminoles four straight years. Clemson enters the noon kickoff with a three-game win streak against the Seminoles.
Clemson is also looking to win its second straight game in Tallahassee, also something it has never done before.
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
Records: Clemson 7-0, 4-0 ACC; Florida State 4-3, 2-3 ACC
When: Saturday, noon
Radio: 105.5 in the Upstate (Clemson Tigers Radio Network); Sirius XM Radio Ch. 98; 193
Latest Line: Clemson (minus-17)
Series: Florida State leads the series 20-11
Streak: Clemson has won three straight
Last year: Clemson won 31-14 at Death Valley
Three story lines
Clemson can move a step closer to a fourth straight Atlantic Division title with a win over FSU. Since 2009, the Tigers or the Seminoles have represented the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship Game. One of the two programs have won each of the last seven ACC Championships as well.
How will Trevor Lawrence perform in his first true road test as the starting quarterback? No disrespect to Wake Forest but playing at Doak Campbell Stadium (79,000 fans) can be a little more intimidating than playing in Winston-Salem (39,000).
Can Clemson run the football? Last week, NC State loaded up the box and held the Tigers’ powerful rushing attack to 91 yards on 32 carries. FSU leads the ACC in rushing defense and odds are will do all the can to take running back Travis Etienne out of the game and put in the hands of the true freshman quarterback. It also does not help that All-ACC center Justin Falcinelli will not play after suffering a concussion in practice.
Florida State players to watch
Deondre Francois, QB: Through seven games he leads the ACC in passing yardage (1,859) and ranks second in yards per game (265.6), TD passes (13) and QB rating (139.21). He is responsible for 15 of FSU’s 20 offensive touchdowns (13 pass, 2 rush) and his .750 rate leads the ACC and ranks No. 8 nationally.
Brian Burns, DE: He leads the ACC in sacks and ranks second nationally with nine. He also ranks third in the conference in tackle for loss with 11.5.
Tamorrion Terry, WR: The redshirt freshman ranks sixth nationally in yards per catch (22.0) – tops among freshmen – after collecting one reception for 23 yards against Wake Forest.
Florida State scouting report
It’s not just Brian Burns who is getting after the quarterback. As a team, the Seminoles’ 3.57 sacks per game is tied with Miami and Boston College for the most in the ACC. Ten Seminoles have recorded at least 0.5 sacks on the year. For the first time since 2011, FSU has at least 4.0 sacks in four consecutive games, including six sacks last week against Wake Forest.
The Seminoles allow an average of just 100.4 yards per game on the ground, the 8th-fewest in the country and the lowest in the ACC. FSU’s 2.6 yards allowed per rush is 4th-best nationally. They limited Wake Forest to 96 yards on 50 carries for an average of 1.9 yards per carry. At Miami, the Noles allowed just 2.2 yards per rush.
For the seventh time in as many games the Noles featured a different starting offensive line combination against Wake Forest last week. Derrick Kelly returned from injury and made his first start at left tackle with Brady Scott moving back to right tackle. The three interior linemen remained the same for the fifth consecutive game. The lineup did not yield a sack against Wake Forest, marking the second time this season they have pitched a sack shutout. They were also sack-free against Louisville.