The Seminoles will be in Clemson, South Carolina to battle the Tigers on Saturday on ABC at 12 noon.
Clemson is 2-1 with wins against Charleston Southern and Florida Atlantic and a loss at Duke.
FSU is 20-15 against the Tigers all-time but have lost the last 7 times. The last win for Florida State in series was in 2014, 23-17 in overtime.
Observations from the last game
The Seminoles were up by 21 half-way through the 3rd quarter and had several chances to put the game away. However, turnovers, penalties and mental breakdowns came at the worst times, keeping BC in the game. Most of these mistakes are easily correctable, and I think this team is going to be better for it going forward.
FSU’s defense continues to struggle against mobile quarterbacks. Injuries to Tatum Bethune, Kalen DeLoach and Akeem Dent forced inexperienced players into the game, which led to some mistakes that were magnified by the quarterback‘s running ability.
The ‘Noles special teams under Mike Norvell has been a strength, but Saturday’s performance was the worst I’ve seen since 2020.
Florida State offense versus Clemson defense
The Clemson linebacker unit led by Jeremiah Trotter (89 tackles and 6.5 sacks in ’22), Barrett Carter (73 tackles and 5.5 sacks last season) and Wade Woodaz (2 interceptions this season) might be the best in the nation. Completing short passes and getting the running game going will be a challenge for the Seminole offense.
To move ball against the Tigers, FSU needs to test the secondary. If receivers Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman play like they did against LSU it should loosen up the defense giving the backs and tight ends room to make an impact. Getting the ball out to the receivers is easier said than done with Clemson’s talented pass rushers, defensive end Xavier Thomas and d-tackle Tyler Davis.
Florida State defense versus Clemson offense
The Florida State defense needs to get back to playing with more confidence. This should be easier as Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik can run but not quite like BC’s Thomas Castellanos. Also, FSU getting some starters back will also help.
Klubnik does throw a good deep ball and is showing a better rapport with his receivers so the FSU pass rushers, Jared Verse, Patrick Payton and Braden Fiske, need to knock him around. Mixing in some stunts and well-timed blitzes should be used as well.
The strength of the FSU defense has been stopping the running backs and is likely to be tested against the Clemson RB tandem of Will Shipley (1,424 total yards and 15 TDs last season) and Phil Mafah (6.6 yards per carry).
Special teams: Advantage: FSU
If FSU can pressure Klubnik while only rushing 4 and get the running game going the ‘Noles ought to get the road victory. I don’t think that’ll happen due to Clemson’s improvement along the O-Line and their ability to slow the opposition’s ground game. Florida State 28 Clemson 31.