Sunday Running PostGame Reactions and Observations: Clemson 27, FSU 41

Post your thoughts here.

Here are your 5 Questions:

1.  What was the most encouraging thing you saw tonight? 

2.  Who was the best player on the field?

3.  What was the most discouraging aspect of this win?

4.  What is your most lingering concern after this victory?

5.  What player or aspect of this team do you most want to see re-emerge?

Bonus: what do you want me to look for in "Inside the Seminole Film Room"?




"It was exciting. We talked about it all week about how other teams weren’t able to run on them. We just stuck with our blocking schemes and we just felt like they hadn’t played a team like us."_ Jermaine Thomas

Early Observations:

  • Continued 3rd down dominance:  Clemson ran 15 3rd down plays and converted only 2.  It's safe to say that the Noles will continue to lead the nation in this category.  Clemson ran 12 3rd down pass plays.  The results?  3 Sacks, 1 Interception, 5 incompletions, 2 completions that were tackled 5 and 2 yards short of the first down, and only ONE conversion.  1-12 on 3rd downs passing.  Think about that.  That is sheer dominance.  
  • Running for points; not maintenance.  FSU had 10 runs of 10+ yards.  7 runs of 20+ yards.  No player with over 100 yards.  Few teams actually use the running game as a weapon instead of a "stay out of 3rd and long" method.  This is good from an explosion standpoint, but I'll need to review some more stuff before I make up my mind RE: are we too boom or bust in the run game.  Another positive of this is that teams must really respect the run on 2nd and 3rd Passing Downs  

The importance of winning 1st down.

... it is not necessarily how many big defensive plays you make that determines how well you do; it is more about leveraging the offense into uncomfortable situations -- in other words, Passing Downs.  The reverse is true for offensive success

I've preached this all year, but we are finally beginning to understand why.  No matter how good you are throwing the ball, you won't have sustained success in 3rd and 5+.  In fact, we discussed our propensity to convert 3rd and long last week.  Several commentators (including myself) commented that we probably cannot keep that up.  As you will see, it was finally time for the Noles to pay the proverbial piper, as they converted on only 2 of 7 3rd and 5+ situations.  A detailed breakdown follows.  See what you can do with this while I crunch other stuff.

Situation Success Rate Successes Failures
Overall Offense 50% 31 31
Rushing Offense 58% 19 14
Passing Offense 41% 12 17
Non-Passing Downs 69% 11 5
Passing Downs 33% 5 10
Running in Non-Passing Downs 80% 8 2
Passing in Non-Passing Downs 60% 3 2
Running in Passing Downs 50% 3 3
Passing in Passing Downs 22% 2 7
1st Down Offense 48% 15 16
1st Down Rushing Offense 50% 8 8
1st Down Passing Offense 47% 7 8
2nd Down Offense 52% 11 10
2nd Down Offense in Non- Passing Downs 62% 8 5
2nd Down Offense in Passing Downs 38% 3 5
2nd Down Rushing Offense 67% 10 5
2nd Down Running in Non-Passing Downs 78% 7 2
2nd Down Running in Passing Downs 50% 3 3
2nd Down Passing Offense 20% 1 4
2nd Down Passing in Non-Passing Downs 33% 1 2
2nd Down Passing in Passing Downs 0% 0 2
3rd Down Offense 50% 5 5
3rd Down Offense in Non- Passing Downs 100% 3 0
3rd Down Offense in Passing Downs 29% 2 5
3rd Down Rushing Offense 100% 1 0
3rd Down Running in Non-Passing Downs 100% 1 0
3rd Down Running in Passing Downs NO Draws?
3rd Down Passing Offense 44% 4 5
3rd Down Passing in Non-Passing Downs 100% 2 0
3rd Down Passing in Passing Downs 29% 2 5

As We've discussed at length, our offensive line is not good enough to execute a bunch of straight dropback pass plays.  Our numbers reflect that.  Also, because of the more hit or miss explosive nature of the passing game, Success rate will almost always be higher for rushing than passing.  More explanations on this tomorrow. 

We did an excellent job of staying committed to the run on 2nd and 8+, running 6 times and getting into 3rd and 4 or better 3 of the 6 times.

I'll enter the Defensive Data into Table form soon.

  • Defensive Success Rate: 63% (45/71).  50% on non-passing downs (5/10).   73% on passing downs (22/30).
  • 1st Down Offensive Success Rate  64% (18/31).  
  • 2nd Down Defensive Success Rate  59% (13/22).  50% on non-passing downs (3/6).  63% on passing downs (10/16). 
  • 3rd Down Defensive Success Rate  87% (13/15).  50% on non-passing downs (2/4, including a turnover).  ONE HUNDRED % on passing downs (11/11).  That's incredible.  Believe in the concept of leverage now?  
  • 4th Down Defensive Success Rate  33% (1/3, all passing downs)

What were certain non-scoring plays really worth?

How costly was roughing the passer?

How would we even go about figuring this out?  Let's use a field position point expectancy chart.  Ddpv_medium


This chart shows how many points they can expect to score then they have the ball at a specific part of the field.  The punt was fair caught at the FS 28 by Preston Parker.  Having the ball at your own 28 on 1st down is worth exactly 2.00 points.  The penalty not only wiped out our expectancy of 2.00 points, but it also gave Clemson a 1st down at their own 46.  Having the ball at your own 46 is worth about 2.9 points. 

So, 2.00 + 2.90= 4.90.  The roughing the passer penalty cost the Noles 4.90 points.  Intuitively, you know that penalty really hurt us.  Now you know mathematically. 


How costly was Tony Carter's muffed punt?



The punt went from the Florida State 43 to the Florida State 11, where Tony Carter tried to fair catch it. 

Having a 1st down at your own 11 is worth roughly 1.8 points.  That's not all that special.  The real killer in this play came from the turnaround.  Clemson recovered the fumble at the Florida State 9.  A first down at your opponent's 9 yard line is worth about 5.3 points.  All in all, Carter's muffed punt was a 7.1 point swing.  What a huge play.  Again I ask: why is a starting cornerback returning punts?  Let's hope this is the last we see of Tony Carter returning punts.

Other key non-scoring plays:

  • Harper's pass to Ford on 3rd down from the FSU 45 (1.5 expected pts) to the FSU 23 (4.25) was worth an expected 2.75 points.  Credit the defense here for holding CU to a field goal. 
  • Ponde'rs toss to Parker  on 3-3 from the CU 44 to the CU 32 was deceptively important.  It was worth 2.5 expectancy points (4.00-1.50). 
  • Spiller's 8 yard rush on 4th-6 from the FSU 38 to the FSU 30 was worth 2.5 points (4.00-2.50)
  • Surrency's 38 yard grab on 2-7 from the 50 to the CU 12 was worth 2.50 expectancy points as well.  (Jumping from 1.50 for the 2-7 @ the 50 (1.50 pts), to a first down @ the CU 12 (4.00pts) )

Truer Drive Charts

I don't think that Clemson should be credit for one drive because FSU roughed their punter.  I also don't think that Neefy's interception or Tony's muff were offensive drives.  It's a pet peeve, but I think this gives a better sense of how each offense (and defense) really played. 

Clemson (split the roughing the punter drive in two)

   Drive Start Drive End Consumed    
Team  Qtr  Spot  Time  Obtained  Spot  Time     How Lost  Pl-Yds  TOP  RZ 
CU   1st  C20  15:00 Kickoff  F00  12:52 *  TOUCHDOWN  5-80  2:08   
CU   1st  C25  11:19 Punt  F23  7:43 *  FIELD GOAL  9-52  3:36   
CU   1st  C20  5:56 Kickoff  C26  4:16    Interception  3-6  1:40   
CU   1st  C20  4:16 Kickoff  C22  2:28    Punt  3-2  1:48   
CU   2nd  C19  12:58 Kickoff  F43  8:55    Punt  7-38  4:03   
CU   2nd  F09  8:55 Fumble  F00  8:17 *  TOUCHDOWN  2-9  0:38 # 
CU   2nd  C37  6:53 Punt  C42  5:15    Punt  3-5  1:38   
CU   2nd  C22  1:19 Kickoff  C15  0:38    Punt  3--7  0:41   
CU   3rd  C09  10:52 Kickoff  C31 7:15 Punt  5-22 3:37
CU   3rd  C46 7:15 Penalty F02  3:43 *  FIELD GOAL  10-52 3:32 # 
CU   3rd  C20  0:38 Interception  C11  13:44    Punt  3--9  1:54   
CU   4th  C09  10:24 Kickoff  C14  8:30    Punt  3-5  1:54   
CU   4th  C03  5:04 Punt  F00  2:00 *  TOUCHDOWN  11-97  3:04 # 
CU   4th  C36  1:42 Kickoff  C41  0:44    Fumble  6-5  0:58   

We really need to start better.  Clemson's first 2 drives went 5-80 and 9-52.  Mickey said that he didn't make a scheme adjustment, but rather, an attitude adjustment.  

After Mickey laid into his crew, Clemson ran 42 plays for 141 yards (3.4 per play-- absurdly good  defense).  CU was completely shut down.  

Then, we went into a prevent and allowed a 11 play, 97yd drive.  However, that drive did last 3:04 and cost Clemson all of their timeouts. 


Florida State (removed the Neefy Score and the Punt Muff)

   Drive Start Drive End Consumed    
Team  Qtr  Spot  Time  Obtained  Spot  Time     How Lost  Pl-Yds  TOP  RZ 
FS   1st  F34  12:52 Kickoff  F34  11:19    Punt  3-0  1:33   
FS   1st  F28  7:38 Kickoff  C34  5:56 *  FIELD GOAL  5-38  1:42   
FS   1st  F25  2:28 Punt  C19  13:03 *  FIELD GOAL  10-56  4:25 # 
FS   2nd  F30  8:12 Kickoff  F30  6:53    Punt  3-0  1:19   
FS   2nd  F30  5:15 Punt  C00  1:25 *  TOUCHDOWN  10-70  3:50 # 
FS   2nd  F33  0:38 Punt  C41  0:00    End of half  4-26  0:38   
FS   3rd  F37  14:52 Kickoff  C00  11:01 *  TOUCHDOWN  9-63  3:51 # 
FS   3rd  F38  3:35 Kickoff  C11  0:38    Interception  7-51  2:57 # 
FS   4th  F32  13:44 Punt  C00  10:31 *  TOUCHDOWN  7-68  3:13 # 
FS   4th  F49  8:30 Punt  C43  5:04    Punt  5-8  3:26   
FS   4th  C41  1:58 Kickoff  C00  1:49 *  TOUCHDOWN  1-41  0:09   
FS   4th  C41  0:44 Fumble  C43  0:00    End of half  1--2  0:44   

I don't like how most of the sites are reporting Clemson's drives.  To me, the drive when we roughed their punter was really 2 separate offensive drives.

I really like the 5 drives of 7+ plays and 50+ yards.  That's very good.

Thanks to and Woody Hayes, Tommy Sabourin, Pat Campbell, Andrew Brady, Steve Heil, and Brian Taylor for compiling this.

More to come...

Wow Notes

  • Wow!, on the 2nd drive, we faked bubble screen action and ran a middle screen off of it.  Unfortunately, Clemson didn't respect givens on the bubble and batted the middle screen pass down.  Still though... Wow!  That's creative.  I think we will see this again.
  • Wow!  We were trying to go deep.  3 or more times we ran a design short pass fake to try to get deep, but alas, the pressure was too much.  Maybe someday? 
  • Wow!  Moses McCray is an absolute beast!  I wonder what the battles between him and Freshman Guard David Spurlock are like?  Watch the 1st down run @ 2:28 of the first quarter.  Moses drives Clemson's Senior Center 3 yards into the backfield, hits the CJ spiller with his arm, and slows him up enough to have our defender converge.  Moses IS the next Brodrick Bunkley.  Mark that down.  He plays with such great leverage. 
  • Wow!  I forgot just how much faster a healthy Dekoda Watson makes out defense.  His constant intensity level doesn't hurt either.

Have something that needs to be in the Wow! notes?  Lemme know.


Photos (Courtesy of



Last week, I told you that we played much worse than the score indicated.

This week, we played much better than the score indicated.

The Media's Take

Check back throughout the day as I add more thoughts.  I'd really like to hear yours, however, so don't be shy!


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