TALLAHASSEE, Fla—An ACC senior class had never beaten Florida State in four consecutive meetings until Saturday when No. 2 Clemson hammered the Seminoles 59-10 in Doak Campbell Stadium. The margin tied the widest gap in program history for FSU tying a 49-point loss to the University of Florida in 1973.
The Tigers (8-0, 5-0) held their opponent to 247 total yards and minus-21 yards rushing on the game, it was the lowest rushing total for a Clemson team since 1996 when it held Furman to minus-29 yards on the ground. The defense also racked up 14 tackles for loss and five sacks of Seminole quarterbacks.
Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins had a memorable final trip to Tallahassee finishing the day with a pair of tackles, including a solo tackle, half of a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. His unit dismantled the Florida State (4-4, 2-4) front all day long and set the tone for the game by dominating in the trenches.
However, the most memorable moment for Wilkins came on perhaps the most bizarre drive of the game when he became the first defensive lineman in Clemson football history to score a rushing touchdown.
Clemson took over after at the FSU 30, after Tre Lamar intercepted a Deondre Francois pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage by Dexter Lawrence and returned it 43-yards. A targeting call and pass interference gave the Tigers the ball at the opponents two-yard line.
After an incomplete pass and a one-yard run by Tavien Feaster, Swinney and company called on what he referred to as “the fridge package” up 14-0 in a third and goal scenario. The fridge of course refers to Clemson great William “the refrigerator” Perry, a defensive tackle famous for scoring a touchdown in Super Bowl XX for Mike Ditka’s Chicago Bears.
In the fridge package, 345-pound defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence lines up at fullback and the 310-pound Wilkins lines up at tailback in the true embodiment of the Power-I offense. Lawrence cleared the way and Wilkins lunged forward for his first rushing touchdown from two yards out to put his team up 21-0.
Clemson worked on the play throughout the week and in Wilkins’ eyes the execution was perfect for everybody from the offensive line to the handoff.
“Dexter did a great job the hole was wide open, the offensive line did a great job, he did a great job clearing it out,” Wilkins said. “I want to thank Trevor because it was a nice, smooth, easy handoff because I was a little bit nervous about that and I want to think the other running backs too because I potentially took a touchdown away from them and they were all celebrating with me.”
The senior defensive tackle did score a touchdown one other time in an orange jersey when Deshaun Watson connected with Wilkins for a one-yard score against Troy in 2016. While most defensive lineman would be satisfied with two touchdowns Swinney knows Wilkins wants more.
“He’s so greedy, are you kidding me?” Swinney joked. “He wants the ball, to throw it, to be a returner, play wideout but you have to love that he plays on punt, field goal, field goal block team and heavy package. He loves it and does all of that stuff.”
Wilkins enjoyed getting his rare trip into this end zone on Saturday but joked he will not rest or give Swinney a break until he is playing quarterback.
“I know this was for coach to shut me up because I’ve been in his ear a lot about playing quarterback and getting in on offense,” Wilkins said. “I’m still going to be on him next week and the week after that and whatever it takes until he lets me play quarterback.”