To the surprise of no one, Florida State’s offense was unable to get going in an embarrassing 59-10 loss to Clemson in Tallahassee.
With many top-ranked recruits on the sidelines, FSU showed that it is still many years away from competing with Clemson for the top spot in the ACC. The Seminoles racked up just 65 yards in the first half and averaged 1.7 yards per play in the opening thirty minutes as the Tigers quickly pulled out to a 28-0 lead by halftime.
The game went pretty much according to script. Clemson’s defensive line, featuring future NFL players like Dexter Lawrence and Christian Wilkins, dominated Florida State’s offensive line and shut down FSU’s run game. Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick combined for just 24 yards and 1.3 yards per carry.
It didn’t fare much better for the passing attack. Deondre Francois, who is well-acquainted with the physicality of Clemson’s front seven, finished 17/36 for 180 yards. Clemson’s secondary, which doesn’t receive the same amount of praise as its front seven, locked down Florida State’s receivers.
Once again, Nyqwan Murray was Francois’ top target and finished with five receptions on 11 targets. Freshman Keyshawn Helton provided a brief spark in garbage time and caught three passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.
All in all, it was what you’d expect from the 109th ranked S&P+ offense going against the 2nd ranked defense.
It could have been a lot worse as well. FSU fumbled the ball four times in the game and only lost the ball once. FSU also racked up 10 offensive penalties, five of which were false starts from offensive linemen.
Florida State’s inability to move the ball on offense also contributed to the struggles of its defense. Clemson’s average starting field position on offense was its own 43-yard line, as compared the 23-yard line for Florida State. That’s a 20-yard difference, or 340-yards added up over the course of 17 drives in the game.
With Clemson up 35-0 early in the third quarter, this game entered garbage time with plenty of time left. As such, not much can be learned from how Florida State played the second half, especially after Francois left with injury late in the game.
Next week, Florida State travels to Raleigh to play NC State. If the Seminoles wish to make a bowl game, the team will have to rebound and find some answers about itself. The Wolfpack always present a tough matchup and Carter Finley Stadium has historically been a difficult place to play.