Date: September 20, 2014
Location: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
Opponent: No.22 Clemson
The high expectations that the 2014 Florida State Seminoles faced were inevitable. The team returned to Tallahassee with a National Championship in hand and Heisman-winning quarterback at the helm. Coming off a season where the average margin of victory was a little over 40 points, preseason betting lines had the ’Noles favored by more than two touchdowns in almost every single game of the 2014 season: merely proving that the “high expectations” this team faced were an understatement.
The game against Clemson; however, would set the tone for a season that would keep Florida State fans and viewers on the edge of their seats and frustrate every opponent in their path. This contest, in particular, would foreshadow a season that featured a team that struggled to start offensively in the first half, yet come out on top in dramatic, nail-biting fashion. At the start of the second half, the dynamic of the team would completely change, and this 2014 team would fight through adversity and show that to win, you must play a full four quarters of football.
Following the announcement of a one-game suspension for Jameis Winston because of an off-the-field incident, sophomore quarterback Sean Maguire found out a couple of days before kickoff that he would have his first career start against the nationally-ranked Clemson Tigers. While Maguire and the rest of the offense struggled to get into a rhythm throughout much of the first half, the opening drive of the second half saw him gain more confidence and lead the aNoles to tie the game 10-10.
After a Tiger touchdown in the 3rd quarter, the Seminoles trailed once again heading into the 4th quarter. Looking to tie the game from the FSU 24-yard line, Maguire connected with veteran wide receiver Rashad Greene for a gain of 16 yards and a Florida State first down. In Unfortunately, the very next play, Maguire was sacked for a loss of 14 yards. Facing second-and-24, Maguire threw a deep pass to Greene, who went 74 yards to score a game-tying touchdown to keep the Seminoles in contention.
Following a big stop by the Seminole defense, Clemson punted the ball back to Florida State, and with just two minutes left to play, Maguire threw an interception that gave Clemson the ball right back at the Seminoles 26-yard line. The odds were not in FSU’s favor, yet two plays later defensive tackle Eddie Goldman forced Clemson’s C.J Davidson to fumble on the Florida State 14-yard line. FSU defensive back Nate Andrews recovered which allowed Maguire to kneel and force the game into overtime.
The ’Noles stuffed Clemson on fourth-and-short during their first possession of overtime. On the second play of Florida State’s drive, Karlos Williams ran 12 yards for a touchdown and secured Florida State’s 19th straight win. On short notice, Maguire stepped up in a high-pressure situation and played a part in creating one of the most memorable moments in Seminoles football history.