A Seminole team with five losses? Florida State on the verge of not playing in a bowl game? Those are things we didn’t expect to hear as the start of the season came along. As we are nearing the end of what is so far a tremendous season, this matchup between Clemson and Florida State isn’t holding the same weight today. Only one team is fighting for ACC supremacy, and it happens to be Clemson. Having their own imperfections, the Tigers are an unstoppable force with Kelly Bryant and are looking better than ever after their first loss. FSU should be in some slight trouble against the nation’s 8th ranked scoring defense and a very stout defensive front. The game will take place in Death Valley at 3:30 PM ET this Saturday.
This will be the 30th meeting between both universities, as the Seminoles hold the lead with 20 wins. Although Clemson has won only the last two matchups, they were victories that propelled them into the playoff. With a win, Clemson can clinch the ACC Atlantic and a spot in the ACC title game for the third straight year with a win over Florida State.
Kelly Bryant has been spectacular for the Tigers when healthy and shall look forward to another efficient outing. Although Bryant only has seven passing touchdowns, he has nine rushing touchdowns to go with 548 yards on the ground. He’s the heart and soul of this offense and will be the key to Clemson’s success or failure this coming weekend.
The Tigers passing game doesn’t flaunt eye-popping numbers but can create big plays that will throw this struggling Florida State secondary off at the right time. The Clemson defensive line should have its way and make life hard for the young guns, RB Cam Akers and QB James Blackman. It can take some time, but Clemson will do what many others have done, and that’s to wear down the Noles’ defense, pulling away in the second half.
Florida State has been averaging an underwhelming 192 passing yards per game out of the quarterback position, most in part because of the Blackman experiment. The Florida State offensive line has been subpar in protecting him, allowing 22 sacks with him under center. Nine of those were on road games, and he’s only been in since week three as well. Blackman has thrown the ball average at best with 1200 yards and eight touchdown passes but has shown flashes of coming into his own. The team has a potentially great defense, but their offense just has glaring holes that aren’t quick fixes. Cam Akers is young and looks promising toward the future, but he isn’t ready to carry this team yet.
Full of questions, Florida State is said to be sure of one thing: It comes in averaging 18.6 points per contest on offense and allowing 24 points on defense. As 18 point underdogs, this game will make or break their season. They need to win three of their last four games to keep their bowl streak alive, and it doesn’t look simple.
Clemson is home to the 13th ranked defense, and that won’t sit too well against the Noles. Florida State will most likely have their defense out on the field most of the game as Blackman and Akers try to get the Noles’ offense running. It shall be an interesting game to start, but the Clemson Tigers will be sure to pull away at the right time.