Florida State came into Death Valley outgunned with too many injuries to count, and left with a 35-30 loss. In the game preview, we said that FSU would have to have a sub-par game from Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. That didn't happen. Boyd made incredible throw after incredible throw, many into tight coverage. He finished 22-35 for 344 yards with 3 TDs and 1 field goal.
Florida State didn't help matters with some coverage busts. And crucial penalties (some legitimate and others still a mystery) kept Clemson drives alive. Three of Clemson's touchdown drives were kept alive by penalties for running into the punter, pass interference and a facemask (legit).
Florida State's offense surprisingly moved the ball very well, putting up an impressive 6.9 yards/play. Clemson appeared to think FSU wouldn't throw too much with freshman quarterback Clint Trickett in for the injured EJ Manuel. Clemson guessed wrong, as FSU came out firing with its depleted receiving corps.
But again, FSU's defense could not get off the field on third down, which allowed Clemson's offense to stay on the field and run thirty more plays than the FSU offense. Clemson finished 9-16 on third downs, including an incredible five first downs earned via penalty.
In a game in which FSU needed its defense to win the game for it, it just didn't happen. Certainly, Tajh Boyd deserves a lot of credit for making some excellent throws into tight coverage. But FSU's defense was expected to play better than this and it did not happen. 460 yards and 37 minutes of possession allowed just won't get it done.
FSU fans can be encouraged by the play of freshman QB Clint Trickett. The 'Noles have a more than serviceable backup in Clint. And the young receivers played much better than expected.
Florida State now has a bye week, followed by games at Wake Forest and at Duke. The goal during this period is to get healthy, as Florida State is suffering through more injuries than any 'Nole team in recent memory. Florida State will also need to get the run game going. Expect a lot of focus on that in practice this week.