Thursday, October 18, 2018

Florida State Seminoles beat Clemson Tigers 49-37

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's 49-37 comeback win over No. 10 Clemson on Saturday night doesn't prove the fourth-ranked Seminoles are back.

All FSU's gritty, nationally televised victory over a high-powered Tigers offense does is keep the Seminoles' hopes of returning to national prominence in 2012 alive heading into this week's road game at USF.

Behind a career night from quarterback EJ Manuel, FSU rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half to escape with its first win over a ranked opponent since the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl and its first victory over a top-10 foe since a 2009 drubbing of BYU.

The triumph in front of an electric, soldout crowd of 83,231 at Doak Campbell Stadium keeps the 'Noles in the national title hunt and puts them in control of the ACC Atlantic Division title. FSU is the conference's last undefeated team.

"We should win big games at Florida State,'' Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said after the teams combined for 1,093 yards.

Manuel said of the victory: "It's huge.''

FSU (4-0, 2-0 ACC) didn't seem ready to live up to the hype early.

Clemson (3-1, 0-1) immediately shredded a defense that entered the game ranked first nationally in five major categories.

Boyd, who completed 20 of 36 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns, launched a third-down pass deep to DeAndre Hopkins. The 60-yard touchdown catch 86 seconds into the game was the first TD allowed by the Seminoles all season.

It wasn't the last.

After FSU answered with a 13-yard touchdown run by Lonnie Pryor, Clemson's offense chipped away. The Tigers drove 79 yards in 10 plays, and Andre Ellington powered six yards into the end zone to hand FSU a 14-7 deficit.

The Tigers tallied more passing yards (123) in the first 11 minutes of the game than FSU had allowed in the last two games combined (92).

After giving up 310 yards through the first three contests of the season, FSU allowed 358 through three quarters Saturday night.

Special teams blunders made matters worse. The normally steady Dustin Hopkins had his first two missed kicks of the season, a 44-yarder and a 37-yarder at the end of the half.

Clemson faked a field goal in the first quarter to set up Ellington's fifth rushing touchdown of the season. And after FSU forced Clemson's second punt of the game, returner Rashad Greene fumbled it at the Seminoles 31.

The Tigers scored four plays later on a 17-yard pass from Boyd to Brandon Ford to take a 21-14 halftime lead.

"We kicked ourselves around a little bit in the first half,'' Fisher said.

The Tigers extended FSU's deficit early in the third quarter. Boyd threw a lateral to do-it-all sophomore Sammy Watkins, who fired a 52-yard touchdown pass to Ellington that gave Clemson a 28-14 lead three minutes into the third quarter.

But big plays and the best night of Manuel's career kept the Seminoles alive. A 64-yard pass from Manuel to Kelvin Benjamin set up a touchdown run by Chris Thompson.

After Clemson answered with a 50-yard field goal, FSU's Lamarcus Joyner ripped off a 90-yard return that set up a 9-yard touchdown lob from Manuel to Greene that cut the Tigers' lead to 31-28.

The Seminoles rolled after that. Manuel found Rodney Smith on a fade in the end zone for a 29-yard score that put FSU up by four and gave the Seminoles their first lead of the game. Manuel only needed the first three quarters to set a career high in passing.

FSU forced its second of three consecutive three-and-outs after its go-ahead touchdown. The Seminoles tacked on another score, thanks to a powerful, tackle-breaking 35-yard rush by Plant High product James Wilder. He finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown rush, his second of the night.

Nick Waisome's first career interception with eight minutes left set up a 27-yard touchdown run by Thompson and sealed the victory.

"The defense played lights-out in the second half,'' said Manuel, who had 380 passing yards and 102 rushing yards.

"It's just the fourth game. We've got to move on,'' Fisher said.

Clem FSU

First downs 21 27

Rushes-yards 38-136 40-287

Passing 290 380

Comp-Att-Int 22-39-1 27-35-0

Return Yards 0 45

Punts-Avg. 7-41.0 3-35.3

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2

Penalties-Yards 3-30 11-81

Time of Possession 27:06 32:54

Clemson 14 7 10 6— 37

Florida St. 7 7 21 14— 49

First Quarter

Clem—Hopkins 60 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), 13:34. FSU—Pryor 13 run (Hopkins kick), 10:54. Clem—Ellington 6 run (Catanzaro kick), 7:01.

Second Quarter

FSU—Wilder 5 run (Hopkins kick), 14:35. Clem—Ford 17 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), 10:06.

Third Quarter

Clem—Ellington 52 pass from S.Watkins (Catanzaro kick), 11:48. FSU—Thompson 9 run (Hopkins kick), 10:09. Clem—FG Catanzaro 50, 7:07. FSU—Greene 9 pass from Manuel (Hopkins kick), 6:15. FSU—R.Smith 29 pass from Manuel (Hopkins kick), 2:37.

Fourth Quarter

FSU—Wilder 5 run (Hopkins kick), 13:25. FSU—Thompson 27 run (Hopkins kick), 8:34. Clem—Ford 3 pass from Boyd (run failed), 2:11. A—83,231.


RUSHINGClemson, Ellington 14-55, Boyd 18-44, S.Watkins 5-37, McDowell 1-0. Florida St., Thompson 15-103, Manuel 12-102, Wilder 9-65, Pryor 3-20, Team 1-(minus 3).

PASSINGClemson, Boyd 20-36-1-237, S.Watkins 1-2-0-52, Benton 1-1-0-1. Florida St., Manuel 27-35-0-380.

RECEIVINGClemson, S.Watkins 6-24, Hopkins 5-88, Ellington 4-87, Ford 4-69, Ja.Brown 1-14, Cooper 1-7, D.Smith 1-1. Florida St., Thompson 8-79, Dent 5-72, Greene 4-36, O'Leary 3-48, Benjamin 2-71, R.Smith 2-48, Shaw 2-17, Wilder 1-9.

Florida Gators midseason review: Is a NY6 bowl game in reach?

Florida Gators midseason review: Is a NY6 bowl game in reach?

After Florida's historic Week 2 loss to Kentucky, expectations plummeted for Dan Mullen's first season as the Gators' coach.A month later, No. 11 UF (6-1) is tied for first in the SEC East and a serious contender to make a run at a New Year's Six bow...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Georgiaís Kirby Smart not surprised by Florida Gatorsí quick turnaround

Georgiaís Kirby Smart not surprised by Florida Gatorsí quick turnaround

The Gators have completely transformed themselves from where they were a year ago against Georgia.Their 42-7 loss to the Bulldogs didn't even seem as close as the final score indicated. A day later, Jim McElwain was out as the head coach.No. 11 Flori...
Published: 10/17/18
Florida State football midseason review: Seminolesí bowl streak in jeopardy

Florida State football midseason review: Seminolesí bowl streak in jeopardy

Few teams in the country have been as disappointing as Florida State.The Seminoles started the year in the top 20, with a loaded running backs corps and a new coach (Willie Taggart) known for offensive fireworks.Midway through the Year 1 of the Tagga...
Published: 10/16/18
How Florida State responds after Hurricane Michael will decide its season

How Florida State responds after Hurricane Michael will decide its season

For the second year in a row, Florida State is having to deal with the football fallout from a devastating hurricane.The Seminoles' failure to respond properly from Hurricane Irma helped lead to their lost 2017 season. How they handle the aftermath o...
Published: 10/15/18
UConn linebacker hospitalized after suffering stroke

UConn linebacker hospitalized after suffering stroke

STORRS, Conn. ó UConn linebacker Eli Thomas has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke. The school issued a statement Monday saying the 220-pound junior had the stroke Wednesday prior to a weightlifting session. The school says Thomas was immedia...
Published: 10/15/18
Matt Bakerís AP Top 25: Miami out, Florida Gators up and UCF in top 10

Matt Bakerís AP Top 25: Miami out, Florida Gators up and UCF in top 10

Four teams in the top eight of my AP Top 25 lost Saturday. So did four teams from 16-25. Just another college football weekend.Georgia's shocking 20-point loss at LSU sent the Bulldogs down from third to No. 9 on my ballot. UGA, for me, is in the 5-1...
Published: 10/14/18
Virginia uses defense to beat No. 16 Miami, 16-13

Virginia uses defense to beat No. 16 Miami, 16-13

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. ó Jordan Ellis ran for a touchdown and Virginia kept No. 16 Miamiís high-powered offense from ever getting going in a 16-13 victory Saturday night. Ellis scored on a 7-yard run in the first half and Brian Delaney kicked three fie...
Published: 10/13/18

No. 10 UCF rallies for 31-30 comeback victory over Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ó With No. 10 UCF struggling and the nationís longest winning streak in jeopardy, first-year coach Josh Heupel decided to take a gamble. Facing fourth and 1 in Memphis territory late in the third quarter and down 13 points, Heupel sent...
Published: 10/13/18
Livefor24 Foundation hosts first 5K, fun run

Livefor24 Foundation hosts first 5K, fun run

The event rises from the death of former UT volleyball player Melissa Vanderhall.
Published: 10/13/18
No. 14 Florida rallies from 18 down to beat Vanderbilt 37-27

No. 14 Florida rallies from 18 down to beat Vanderbilt 37-27

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Dan Mullen prefers not to talk about what prompted his 14th-ranked Florida Gators and the Vanderbilt Commodores to spill off the sidelines. Derek Mason says a Florida player said something to the Vanderbilt coach. In the end, the G...
Published: 10/13/18