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Staff Predictions: Florida State Seminoles vs. Clemson Tigers

FSU ranks 1st in the ACC and 14th in FBS in pass defense holding opponents to 170 yards per game

NCAA Football: Florida State at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida State Seminoles (4-2, 2-2) will host the #4 Clemson Tigers (6-0, 4-0) at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. while a prime-time national television audience watches on ABC.

The Seminoles will try to break Clemson’s 6 game winning streak against FSU, while the Tigers are attempting to win their seventh consecutive game against Florida State for the first time in series history. FSU leads the series in face-to-face matchups, 20-14.

Florida State is going for its first win over a top-five team since upsetting North Carolina at home in Oct. 2020.

Florida State ranks first in pass defense in the ACC and 14th in the FBS. The Noles are only allowing 170.3 passing yards per game, which is the fewest passing yards allowed by a FSU defense since the 2013 national championship season.

FSU is also leading the ACC with 14.4 yards per pass completion and have the ACC’s No. 2 rushing offense at 204 yards per game. The Tigers are allowing only 64 rushing yards per game for second in the FBS. Clemson is 98-3 against unranked teams since the start of the 2012 season.

Your Tomahawk Nation staff, as they do before every game, have broken down all the FSU and Clemson film available, charted each All-22 formations/snaps, performed A.I. virtual simulations, compiled all of the data, and have come to the conclusion that the Noles could win under the right circumstances.

According to DraftKings, FSU is currently a 4.5-point underdog to the Tigers, with the over/under set at 51 points.

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NoleThruandThru (season record: 4-2)

I’m glad FSU is at the end of this three-game gauntlet and a bye week is in sight. While some may have wished for a bye before Clemson, I’m glad it’s coming right afterward- this will be a physical game and regardless of outcome, FSU needs to recover before attacking the back half of the schedule and ensuring a bowl berth at minimum.

Of course Clemson will be at near-full strength for this game. Of course Clemson will be getting back their major playmakers, and of course they’re clicking much more than they were earlier in the season. That’s just the way it works these days in this series. Dabo wants to run up the score and embarrass FSU at home, but I’ll be surprised if this is a blowout either way (certainly more like one would be in Clemson’s favor). This will be a prime time night game in Doak, and I fully expect the Seminole faithful to create a hostile and memorable environment.

For me, the key will be how the Seminole ground game will match up against another star-studded Tiger defensive line. If FSU can establish the run and Jordan Travis can make timely decisions on RPOs, FSU will have a decent shot at pulling an upset. The Tiger secondary has been suspect, to say the least, and I could see a big game coming for Johnny Wilson. That said, FSU will still be without some key players along the trenches. I think the deeper team will win this game, and Clemson is that team.

Clemson 34, FSU 27

Tommy Mire (season record: 4-2)

Well, the end of the three-game stretch is in sight, but the Noles must get through Clemson to enter into their bye. I like the return of ATH Ja’khi Douglas, who brings speed and a fresh set of legs coming off an injury, and he looked just as good in practice this week.

Running back Lawrance Toafili also showed he’s an all-around player, and accompanied by Trey Benson should give the Noles a good one-two up front if they can create space in the trenches - which leads to a problem. FSU will have to get creative in the passing game to put pressure on the secondary and give Jordan Travis enough time to get the ball out or use his legs to scramble.

The Noles pass rush is going to have to hit home to rattle DJ and the linebackers are going to have to be able to bring him down before huge chunk plays if he takes off.

This one is going to be tough; however, you could see some fireworks in a packed house on Saturday.

FSU 24, Clemson 21

Juan Montalvo III (69-0)

If you told me this team was 100% healthy across both lines of scrimmage, I’m probably taking the Noles in a close game. While FSU is one of the best defenses in the nation at preventing huge plays, skill talent like Shipley, Williams & Ngata will challenge that. I’m not high on DJ Ukelele, but those skill players will present a challenge and they will get theirs, even if they don’t hit a 30+. Clemson will chew up green area yardage quickly and make this a high possession game. While I’m confident FSU is capable of hanging offensively, an 80+ play game will test the ailing depth on the FSU DL.

In the end, I have Clemson edging in a close game with the Tigers pulling ahead late.

Clemson 34, FSU 28

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LastNoleOfKrypton (4-1)

Not quite sure FSU will be healthy enough on the defensive line to win this game. Clemson’s back 7 can be taken advantage of if they can protect Travis enough but Clemson will likely be getting back Bryan Bresee and Xavier Thomas for this game. The passing game will be explosive but I don’t expect it to be consistent due to pressure.

A low-scoring affair that will ultimately go in Clemson’s favor.

Clemson 21, FSU 17

Gwyn Rhodes (season record: 3-1)

My recent degree from Clemson aside, I am full ‘Noles this weekend. The last time it was full ‘Noles vs. Clemson was every softball matchup last season. I can only hope that this football game will go similarly to the softball games in 2022. Maybe we see different players making big plays (I’m thinking Mack Leonard, Kalei Harding, Danielle Watson vs. Clemson type big plays). Fingers crossed that route will catch the Tigers off guard.

FSU 24, Clemmy 21

TimScribble (season record: 4-2)

This game falls right at the end of the toughest stretch of FSU’s schedule and the Seminoles are feeling it. Multiple injuries have caused the offensive and defensive lines to shuffle their lineups. Where as Clemson is looking to be full strength on the offensive line. I think Clemson wins, but my hope is FSU keeps it close.

Clemson 27, FSU 17

Jon Marchant (season record: 5-1)

The last two weeks have been pretty disappointing considering both games were very winnable and long stretches of poor play doomed their efforts. Clemson is simply the best team on their schedule. But this is still a good team and they’re capable of beating anyone, including the Tigers. There’s no reason to pick FSU in this game. But I’m going to do it anyway.

FSU 25, Clemson 24

Evan Johnson (season record: 3-2)

I don’t think there’s an outcome that would surprise me here. I can see FSU blowing the doors off of Clemson because the Clemson offense struggles against FSU’s no big play defense and DJU throws a couple of picks and FSU’s wide receivers are able to beat up on a Clemson secondary that is not the caliber that fans expect. However, I can also see Clemson blowing FSU out as the FSU offensive line is greatly overmatched and the defense is just left on the field too long against a talented Clemson team.

As always the most likely scenario is somewhere in the middle. Clemson is about the healthiest they’ve been all season and FSU is certainly not. I think the game is largely close but a late Clemson score seals the game.

Clemson 30, FSU 20

FrankDNole (season record: 4-2)

As a realistic FSU fan, I understand our chances for a CFP berth decreased with the loss last week. However, by beating Clemson this week the Noles will once again break into the Top 25 and can slowly climb up in the polls by winning the rest of their games.

This is the weakest Clemson team FSU has faced in the past few years and the strongest FSU team Clemson has faced in the past few years.

I expect a close game until FSU rips out Clemson’s heart and does some unmentionable things to it in the 4th quarter. The FSU players will give 111% effort, make more plays in the crunch, and just want it more than the swinney kitties. Finally, it’s Noles time.

FSU Seminoles 38, Clempsun Dabo’s 27

Perry Kostidakis (season record 5-1)

I am very unsure how to feel about this game, because these two teams are nearly perfect competition for each other — FSU thrives off the big play, Clemson off preventing it. The difference the last few weeks for the Seminoles has been an inability to get points from those plays, a trend that needs to be flipped if FSU wants to exit out of this three-game stretch with at least one win.

The problem is, Clemson seems to be a team that is slowly figuring itself out and just as Florida State presents an improved squad to the matchup, the Tigers have elevated themselves from 2021 as well.

FSU finding itself within arm’s reach of a win last year was an unexpected surprise — a win this Saturday would not be nearly shocking, especially considering the potential this team has when gunning. Health questions and finishing-off-drive concerns from the last few weeks have me wary of choosing the Seminoles in this one — let’s hope that my season prediction record falls in line with FSU’s season record though.

Clemson 37, FSU 33

Brian Pellerin (season record: 4-2)

Things aren’t going all that well for the garnet and gold right now as they push through the toughest stretch of the schedule. This was the measuring stick for this team and program. So far, we’ve learned they’re close, but not quite there yet. And honestly there’s nothing wrong with that. The toughest enemy in this stretch is Clemson and I expect it similar to the Wake game. You need to play near perfect to win. The mistakes of recent weeks won’t get it done. That’s a really tough ask for this program.

Clemson 32, FSU 24


Florida State Seminoles vs. Clemson Tigers

Pre-Game Coverage from Tomahawk Nation

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