TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It’s Game Day in Doak Campbell Stadium where No. 2 Clemson battles Florida State in ant Atlantic Division showdown. The Tigers hope to continue their run to an ACC Championship and a trip to the College Football Playoff.
Location: Doak Campbell Stadium
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m.
Announcers: Brock Huard, Allison Williams Bob Wischusen
2018 Record: Clemson 7-0, Florida State 4-3
ACC Record: Clemson 4-0 Florida State 2-3
Series History: Florida State leads 20-11
Last Meeting: Clemson won 31-14 in 2017 at Death Valley
WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK
– Clemson attempting to open a season 8-0 for the seventh time in program history and the third time in the last four years (1948, 1981, 2000, 2011, 2015 and 2016). Clemson earned conference titles in five of the previous six seasons in which it opened 8-0.
– Clemson winning the first eight games of a season for the fourth time under Head Coach Dabo Swinney (2011, 2015, 2016). All other coaches in Clemson history have combined for three 8-0 starts, including one each by
Frank Howard, Danny Ford and Tommy Bowden.
– Clemson and Florida State meeting in 2018 after having represented the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship Game every year since 2009, Dabo Swinney’s first full season as the Tigers’ head coach. Clemson has earned five division titles in those nine years, with Florida State winning the other four.
– Clemson attempting to win four consecutive games against Florida State for the first time in series history. Clemson’s active three-game winning streak against the Seminoles is tied for the Tigers’ longest in series history, matching a three-game streak from 2005-07.
SERIES HISTORY VS. FLORIDA STATE
Florida State holds a 20-11 advantage in the series with Clemson dating back to the schools’ first meeting, a 38-13 Florida State win in Tallahassee in 1970. Clemson has an 9-6 advantage over the last 15 games, including a five-game home winning streak until 2013. The home team has won 13 of the last 16 games. Since 2003, Clemson won at Florida State twice, in 2006 and 2016. Florida State’s only win at Clemson since 2001 was in 2013. So the last two road wins in the series (Florida State in 2013, Clemson in 2016) both preceded National Championship victories that year.
Each of the last nine years, the winner of the Clemson vs. Florida State game has gone on to win the Atlantic Division Championship. Each of the last seven years, the winner of this game has won the ACC Championship, including each of the last three years by the Tigers.
Clemson has played 15 games in the state of Florida under Head Coach Dabo Swinney. Clemson is 8-7 in those contests but has won seven of its last eight in the Sunshine State.
The Tigers have earned six consecutive victories in Florida dating back to the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. Saturday’s game will be Clemson’s first in Florida since culminating its 2016 national championship run in
Tampa with a 35-31 win against Alabama.
Keep an eye on Austin Spence and Patrick Phibbs near loose balls this week, as Clemson actually has a history of long snappers recovering fumbles in Tallahassee. In 2012, Clemson long snapper Phillip Fajgenbaum recovered a Florida State punt fumble in the first half, setting up a Clemson touchdown and helping the Tigers to a 21-14 lead at intermission. It was the first fumble
recovery of Fajgenbaum’s career.
What made it odd was that it marked the third straight trip to Tallahassee in which a Clemson long snapper had recovered a Florida State fumble. Those three are the only recovered fumbles by Clemson long snappers this century,
as Matt Skinner recovered a Florida State fumble on a punt return in 2010.
POWER OVER THE POWER FIVE
Early in his head coaching tenure, Dabo Swinney laid out his belief to then-Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips that the Tigers needed to add tough nonconference challenges on top of their tests in ACC play to serve as a foundation for the program’s growth.
“I had a conversation with Terry Don and I was like, ‘Terry Don, I know we are not very good right now, but we need to play people because that is going to help me teach and help me develop the culture and the mindset that you have to have to win at the highest level,’” Swinney recounted prior to the 2018 season. “I didn’t think we had
that, and that’s what we committed to. That’s what we’ve done.”
That scheduling philosophy and culture change has resonated in the Clemson program, and since 2013, no team can claim more wins against Power Five opponents than Clemson
Robert – Clemson 45, Florida State 17
Will – Clemson 27, Florida State 14