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Florida State Seminoles' defensive roll quickly ends against Clemson Tigers

TALLAHASSEE — Clemson wasted no time in ending Florida State's streak of 13 quarters without allowing a touchdown.

The Tigers scored on their fifth play from scrimmage, 86 seconds into Saturday night's game. On third and 7 from his 40, Clemson QB Tajh Boyd hit WR DeAndre Hopkins. CB Xavier Rhodes couldn't knock the ball away, and Hopkins sprinted into the end zone and saluted the Tigers' corner of the stadium.

It was the longest play allowed by the Seminoles all season. FSU hadn't allowed a touchdown since Notre Dame scored on a pass in the third quarter of FSU's 18-14 victory in the Champs Sports Bowl — a streak of 193:49.

The Tigers' touchdown gave FSU its first deficit of the season.

RARE MISSES: FSU's Dustin Hopkins missed his first field goal of the season late in the first quarter. On the Seminoles' second drive, his 44-yarder sailed wide right, ending his 3-for-3 streak. He also missed a 37-yarder wide left to end the first half.

Hopkins, who entered the game tied for second in school history with 66 field goals, has hit 76 percent of his attempts (66-for-87).

BACK-TO-BACK SACKS: Senior DE Cornellius Carradine continued to excel in place of star Brandon Jenkins, who is out with a foot injury.

Carradine sacked Boyd on consecutive plays in the first quarter, pushing the Tigers back 14 yards and out of FSU territory. Carradine entered the game with 3½ sacks for 15 yards this season.

ESPN IN TOWN: ESPN's College GameDay show aired live from in front of Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday morning.

Analyst Lee Corso's headgear pick predicted a Seminole victory, with what could have been a bad omen. The FSU alum donned face paint, a headdress and a black wig. Then Corso, 77, picked up a Seminole spear and tried — and repeatedly failed— to plant it on a patch of turf on the ESPN set. Eventually the spear stuck.

FSU improved to 7-5 when Corso picks the ' Noles to win.

Full house: FSU and Clemson battled in front of a sellout 83,231. It was the Seminoles' first sellout since last season's 23-13 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma. FSU issued 603 media credentials for Saturday's game, which featured the 17th-largest crowd in school history.

Thompson stars AGAIN: RB Chris Thompson followed up on his 197-yard outburst against Wake Forest with another strong night. He had more than 100 yards for the second game. Thompson finished with 103 yards and two touchdowns. Former Plant High star James Wilder added two rushing touchdowns.

THIS AND THAT: Junior WR Greg Dent earned his first career start. … The Seminoles honored their men's basketball team at halftime, handing out rings for their ACC championship from this past season. FSU's marching band spelled out "ACC" during the presentation. … DE Bjoern Werner briefly left the game with a left hand injury and returned in the second half.

Matt Baker can be reached at mbaker@tampabay.com.

Florida State Seminoles' defensive roll quickly ends against Clemson Tigers 09/22/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 23, 2012 12:50am]
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