This Saturday at 7:30 on ABC the ‘Noles will be back in Doak to play the Clemson Tigers.
Clemson is 6-0 this year with wins against Georgia Tech, Furman, Louisiana Tech, Wake Forest, NC State and Boston College.
FSU holds a 20-14 advantage against the Tigers but have lost 6 in a row. The last time the Seminoles won was in 2014, 23-17 in overtime.
Observations from the last game
The ‘Noles played almost perfect in the first half. Then the wheels fell off on offense and special teams. The defense played well enough to win even with all the injuries.
Losing Treshaun Ward was a huge blow. Ward is very patient runner and would have been able to diagnosis NC State’s blitzes better than the younger backs.
Florida State offense versus Clemson defense
The Clemson defense ranks 2nd in the FBS in yards given up rushing per play at 1.9 and that’s without star d-tackle Bryan Bresee the last 2 games. Bresee should be back and FSU’s starting tailback Treshaun Ward is sidelined with a shoulder injury so it will be tough for the ‘Noles to get going on the ground.
For the Seminoles to move the ball on offense they will need to make it happen through the air. That will be easier than the ground game as Clemson ranks 81st in yards given up passing per game with 255.
Jordan Travis and the receivers are capable of exploiting the Tigers young secondary, but they must make better decisions and catch the ball when they get a chance. Having the down field threat Ja’khi Douglas back in the lineup will give the Tigers secondary something else to worry about.
Florida State defense versus Clemson offense
DJ Uiagalelei (oo-ee-unga-luh-lay) – 1462 yards with 17 total TDs and 2 INTs – has improved immensely since last season. DJ U has talented receivers on the outside but in big moments he looks for his tight ends Davis Allen and Jake Brinningstool. Allen and Brinningstool have combined for 29 catches, 5 TDs and 331 yards.
FSU should be able to slow the passing game with Kalen DeLoach, Tatum Bethune and Jammie Robinson covering the tight ends. The key for the Seminole defense will be trying to stop the Tigers’ rushing attack led by do-it-all back Will Shipley (446 yards rushing and 8 TDs). Uiagalelei and backup running back Phil Mafah add their own element to the ground game as well. The defensive line and linebackers need to stay healthy throughout the game for FSU to have a chance to slow down the Clemson offense.
The ‘Noles have the advantage on special teams despite Ryan Fitzgerald’s struggles and the punter’s costly mistake last week.
FSU needs to play a complete game and win the turnover battle to win. But I think Clemson’s scary good defensive line forces too many mistakes to help them outlast the Seminoles. Florida State 21 Clemson 33