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Stovall has a knack for thwarting Tigers

Florida State senior receiver Chauncey Stovall isn't sure what it is about Clemson, but he's got a theory.

"I'm here to play for the "Bowden Bowl,' " he said of the annual coaching matchup of father and son. "That's what I came here for, games like that."

He had a career-high seven catches for 96 yards and a 47-yard touchdown in the Seminoles' 41-22 win Saturday.

Stovall was the lone bright spot in last year's disappointing loss at Clemson, with four catches for 131 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown in the waning minutes.

This time, his touchdown was a difference-maker.

With Tigers star cornerback Justin Miller playing him tough at the line, Stovall burst by and raced down the left sideline.

"Coach ( Jeff Bowden) called my number so I had to make a play," Stovall said. " Wyatt ( Sexton) put the ball where it was supposed to be."

"They're going to learn not to press Stovall, I can tell you that much," Sexton said.

UTILITY MAN: Clemson junior Bobby Williamson, a former East Lake High star, had been a tight end exclusively the past two years but now has moved to defensive end. He sacked Sexton early in the second quarter, his third straight game with a sack.

"Not too bad, but it would have been nice to come away with a win," said Williamson, who spent the week wheeling and dealing with teammates to get extra tickets; he eventually got 13.

He even returned a short kickoff 4 yards.

"I got yelled at on the sideline; I'm not supposed to handle the ball," he quipped.

DETERMINED TO SCORE: FSU cornerback Leroy Smith couldn't help but recall how he failed to return an interception for a touchdown last year against Maryland. Quarterback Scott McBrien brought him down. So he wasn't about to let history repeat itself when he picked off a Charlie Whitehurst pass Saturday and needed only to evade him to score.

"I knew I was going to score," McBrien said. "My teammates laughed at me last year when I let the quarterback from Maryland tackle me on the 2-yard line, so I was determined not to let Whitehurst tackle me."

SCOREBOARD FUN: Before the game, officials put Bowden above the team names for each school on the scoreboard in the south end zone.

ON THE SIDELINE: Former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, a backup quarterback with the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers, took advantage of an off week to return to the FSU sideline.

One of his signature plays during the Heisman run occurred here against Clemson, a perfect play-action fake in his end zone and then a deep throw to Marvin "Snoop" Minnis, who turned the catch into a school record 98-yard touchdown.

"That memory sticks out," Weinke said. "I was getting a little nervous because I felt a guy about to hit me, but we got it off."

NUMBERS GAME: FSU leads the series with Clemson 15-3. It has scored at least 41 in eight of those wins.

_ BRIAN LANDMAN, Times staff writer