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Florida State defense struggles early and often against Clemson

The Seminoles were overmatched on Saturday, as was expected

Florida State v Clemson Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Florida State allowed Clemson to gain over 100 yards and at least one touchdown in every quarter but the fourth.

It was par for course on what was expected, but still disappointing to see play out. The Seminoles, for what it’s worth, really did do what it could on defense, but Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and the rest of the Clemson offense were just too much. The game was effectively over in the second quarter, but that’s only because the defense managed to force a punt on Clemson’s second drive of the game.

The Seminoles had improved its rushing defense the last few weeks but still let Etienne run wild. Lawrence, as he was supposed to, consistently made tough throws and ran effectively, though why he was running at all is a question for Mr. Swinney.

Florida State was tested consistently, and if you want to take a positive away from the way they failed the test, the benefit comes perhaps in the form of the experience of the players who were in the game and the way. Comparing the overall effort and execution from last season, though, Florida State improved. Defenders played until the end, made smart moves to force and recover multiple turnovers and got fourth down stops. Moral victories mean as much as the coupons you give to your parents for birthday presents when you’re a child, but in the end, they still have value.

The question, and challenge posed, to Florida State now is, can it replicate and progress from the defense that it exhibited against NC State and Louisville, or will it regress to where it was in its opening games?

The answer will be given soon, seeing as FSU’s next matchup is against a potent Wake Forest offense that’s averaging 36 points and 515 yards per game.