Second-ranked Clemson defeated Florida State, 59-10, on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. The Tigers improved to 8-0 (5-0 ACC), while the Seminoles fell to 4-4 (2-4).
Here’s a look back at Clemson’s rout of FSU:
After being forced to punt on its three possessions in the first quarter, Clemson got things rolling quickly, scoring a touchdown on each of its first four possessions of the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead at halftime. It marked the first time since 2013 vs. The Citadel that the Tigers scored 28 points in a quarter.
Trevor Lawrence hooked up with Tee Higgins for touchdown tosses of 7 and 3 yards, giving Clemson a 14-0 lead halfway through the second frame. Then, Christian Wilkins got in the act when he scored on a 1-yard rushing touchdown after lining up as the tailback behind Dexter Lawrence in Clemson’s Power-I formation. Garrett Williams, whose dad, Dayne, played for Bobby Bowden at Florida State in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, scored on a 2-yard plunge with 1:07 to go in the second quarter to make the score 28-0.
The Tigers continued to pile on after the break with several big plays in the passing game. Amari Rodgers took a short slant pass 58 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage in the second half, then hauled in a deep ball for a 68-yard touchdown reception that extended Clemson’s lead to 45-0 midway through the third quarter. Backup quarterback Chase Brice replaced Lawrence on Clemson’s ensuing drive and completed a 61-yard pass to Diondre Overton before connecting with T.J. Chase for a 5-yard touchdown that put the Tigers ahead 52-3 late in the third. Adam Choice tacked on with a 15-yard touchdown rush early in the fourth quarter.
Florida State scored its lone touchdown of the game in garbage time on a 73-yard pass from James Blackman to Keyshawn Helton with less than five minutes remaining to provide the final 59-10 score.
Clemson’s defense suffocated the Seminoles all day, allowing just 247 total yards (65 yards in the first half) and negative-21 yards rushing. The Tigers racked up 14 tackles for loss and five sacks while limiting FSU to a 4-of-17 clip on third down. Offensively, Clemson compiled 524 total yards, 25 first downs, averaged 6.8 yards per play and went 7-of-7 in the red zone.
What went right?
Lawrence was brilliant again as he completed 20-of-37 passes for 314 yards and four touchdowns. Rodgers recorded six receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns, while Higgins had six catches for 62 yards and two scores.
Clemson scored the most points it ever has against Florida State and was complemented perfectly by a stifling defense. Brice and third-string quarterback Ben Batson were able to get some experience in the second half with the game out of hand and the Tigers had another opportunity to play a lot of guys.
The Tigers didn’t need any help to beat the Noles, but they got help from FSU, which committed 16 penalties for 134 yards, dropped a number of passes, fumbled four times and turned the ball over twice.
What went wrong?
Not much of note that went wrong for Clemson with the exception of the slow start. Clemson had to punt on all of its first-quarter possessions and the game was scoreless at the end of the first quarter, though that will hardly be remembered as the Tigers reeled off 28 points in the second quarter and 31 more points in the second half.
Clemson’s lead was only 14-0 halfway through the second quarter when Florida State was in the midst of its best drive of the game to that point. A 15-yard roughing the passer penalty against Clemson’s K’Von Wallace put FSU’s offense at the Tiger 30-yard line and in position to potentially cut into its deficit. However, a few plays later, linebacker Tre Lamar picked off a pass from Deondre Francois and returned the interception 43 yards to the FSU 30. Four plays later, Wilkins ran in for a 1-yard touchdown to give Clemson a 21-0 lead, and the Tigers never looked back in the blowout victory.