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Florida State loses at Clemson 23-13

Florida State falls to 7-2 (5-2) on the season after the loss at Clemson.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 2011, the Florida State Seminoles were defeated by the Clemson Tigers, 23-13.

Dalvin Cook returned to the playing field after missing the Syracuse game, and as usual, made a grand entrance --- this time with a 75-yard touchdown run from the first play of scrimmage. In total, Cook finished with 128 rushing yards in the first quarter. The two biggest issues for Florida State were evident in the first half with Sean Maguire throwing a red-zone interception and the 'Noles having two costly third down penalties on defense that gave the Clemson offense a new life, however the Tigers could only manage three points in their three first quarter drives due to a very solid performance by the 'Noles.

The second quarter began with a FSU drive resulting in a red-zone field goal. As the half winded down, the 'Noles caught a break when Clemson QB Deshaun Watson spiked the ball on third and three, seven yards from the end zone, forcing Clemson to kick a field goal and enter the half with a four point defect.

The 'Noles defense did a great job in the first containing the hot offense of Clemson who had scored 34+ points in each of their past four games. Sean Maguire was 5-10 for 51 yards and that costly interception as the team turned to the ground, rushing the ball 18 times.

After stopping the Tigers on their first possession, The 'Noles were unable to contain them on their second trip down the field, as Clemson took their first lead of the game on a 38-yard screen pass. After the 'Noles got the ball back, they were stopped on 3rd and inches, forcing Roberto Aguayo to make a 41-yard field goal, tying the game up at 13 with 6:15 left in the third.

After Cason Beatty had a punt that left Clemson inside the FSU 10, they marched down the field and kicked a game leading field goal with 7:23 left in the game. After a long kick off return by Kermit Whitfield, the Tigers stopped the 'Noles on a fourth and inches, taking over near midfield. Clemson then put the game away on a rushing touchdown with 2:34 left, making it a two possession game. Florida State got the ball back, but it was fumbled away by Travis Rudolph, the second turnover of the game by a team who had one all season prior to coming into the game.

Sean Maguire struggled in his second start for the Florida State Seminoles, going 16-29 with 165 yards and a critical red-zone interception that cost the 'Noles points. Dalvin Cook cooled off after his huge first quarter, finishing the day with 21 carries for 194 yards and a touchdown. Compared to the OT thriller last year against Clemson in which FSU ran the ball 19 times all game, they ran it much more often, a total of 27 times.

Throughout the first three quarters the Florida State defense was the reason that the Seminoles were in this game, allowing 13 points to a team who has scored at least 34 points in the previous four games. The fourth quarter, Clemson went on a few large drives on a very tired FSU defense, putting the game away. Derwin James and Jalen Ramsey played incredibly, with Ramsey breaking up a pass as well as sacking Watson once. Javien Elliot, the former walk-on, also had a solid game in coverage, breaking up a pass, but having a much larger presences. Reggie Northrup led the team with 13 tackles.

Penalties continued to hurt the 'Noles, giving up a total of 65  yards and multiple third downs. Another area where Florida State has had troubles all year is third downs, and it would continue against Clemson as FSU went 2-12 on third down. To make matters worse, they could only cash in one of their two red zone drives with a field goal.

The Florida State Seminoles will return home for the next two weeks and will face NC State next Saturday.