CLEMSON, S.C. — Florida State coach Bobby Bowden grew tired of looking across the field to the Clemson bench and seeing his son Tommy.
The so-called "Bowden Bowl" faded into history when Tommy Bowden stepped down as the Tigers coach midway through last season, but that doesn't mean the annual FSU-Clemson showdown isn't still something of a family affair for the elder Bowden.
An extended-family, that is.
Former FSU offensive coordinator Brad Scott is still a Tigers assistant and, this year, former FSU linebackers coach Kevin Steele (2003-06), is the defensive coordinator here.
"When I went there to really the day I left, I really thought that may be it," Steele said of his coaching travels. "Little did I know."
Before going to FSU, Steele had just been fired as Baylor's coach and was entertaining several opportunities when he got a call from Bobby Bowden and FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.
"It felt like something that was pretty special, particularly having been at Nebraska with Coach (Tom) Osborne and at Tennessee with Coach (Johnny) Majors and to go to Florida State to be with Coach Andrews and Coach Bowden, it was just kind of the right fit. That's how it transpired. I had a blast. It was fun."
A big start: FSU scored 17 in the opening quarter, its biggest first-quarter outburst all season and the most since it put up 21 against Chattanooga in the second game of last season.
End of a streak: When Clemson's Richard Jackson missed a PAT on the team's first touchdown, it not only snapped his perfect record (25 of 25), but was the Tigers' first miss after 116 straight conversions dating to the 2006 Music City Bowl.
Ticket drive: FSU senior LB Dekoda Watson and senior CB Jamie Robinson, South Carolina natives, faced the task of rustling up extra tickets for family and friends. Both said they got about 18. (Redshirt freshman DT Everett Dawkins is the third South Carolina native on the travel roster; freshman S Justin Bright, who is redshirting, didn't make the trip.)
"It's my last year playing college football and my last time I'll be able to play at home," Robinson said before the game. "It's going to be special, real special."
A return: FSU senior DT Budd Thacker, who has been slowed by assorted injuries, most recently a knee sprain, returned for the first time since the Georgia Tech game.
Honoring Andrews: Before the game, Clemson honored FSU's Andrews, who announced on Tuesday that he would retire at the end of this season. Andrews was a coach at Clemson from 1976-80. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, Steele and Scott presented him with a Clemson helmet and football autographed by the Clemson team.
More bang for the buck: FSU assistants James Coley and Odell Haggins took advantage of the trip here to take in a prep game on Friday involving Byrnes High, which features three heralded prospects, RB Marcus Lattimore and DEs Cody Miller and Brandon Willis.
Brian Landman can be reached at (813) 226-3347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/seminoles.