Late Second Quarter Surge allows Clemson to quiet Seminoles
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State had No. 4 Clemson exactly where they wanted them.
With the second quarter drawing to a close, the Seminoles had only three points left and moved the ball to midfield. The Tigers then showed their strength.
On second-and-12 from the FSU 48, Clemson’s Myles Murphy stripped the football from quarterback Jordan Travis and defensive tackle Tyler Davis recovered the loose ball at the 42.
A 36-yard run by Will Shipley and a play later quarterback DJ Uiagalelei rumbled in from five yards out to extend Clemson’s lead to 10 points. The Tigers then got a 69-yard kick return from Shipley to start the second half and a 31-yard Uiagalelei to Davis Allen touchdown on the first play from scrimmage to put the tagger in the Seminoles, as Clemson hung on to a 34-28 victory at Doak Campbell Stadium. This is Clemson’s seventh consecutive win over the Seminoles. It is also their longest win streak against the Seminoles in their proud history. Florida State (4-3 and 2-3 ACC) ran the ball down the throat of the Tigers. On the opening possession, they rushed for 44 yards on a nine-play, 75-yard drive which Travis capped with a 20-yard run in which he juked linebacker Barrett Carter out of his shoes.
Clemson (7-0, 5-0 ACC) answered Travis’ touchdown when Uiagalelei found a wide-open Antonio Williams for a 59-yard scoring pass, tying the game at 7-7 with 6: 42 to play in the first.
The Seminoles regained the lead, 14-7, on the first play of the second quarter, as fullback DJ Lundy scored from a yard out. But the Tigers quickly tied it. On the ensuing possession, Uiagalelei hit tight end Jake Briningstool for a seven-yard touchdown, capping a 13-play, 75-yard drive.
Briningstool’s touchdown was the first of 27 unanswered points by the Tigers.
Potter gave Clemson its first lead with a 47-yard field goal with 1: 51 to play before halftime and then Murphy’s stripped sack set up Uiagalelei’s five-yard touchdown before halftime.
Shipley continued the onslaught with his 69-yard kick return to open the third quarter and then Uiagalelei found Allen down the sideline on a well-executed reverse flea-flicker.
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Potter later added a second field goal, this time from 34 yards, to extend the lead 34-14 through three quarters. To make it interesting,
FSU scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns but Clemson held on to the six-point win.
Player of the Game: Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei continues to impress. The junior quarterback threw three touchdown passes and ran for another. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 203 yards. He did not pass the ball over.
Key Play: With Clemson holding a 17-14 lead just before the half, FSU moved to midfield with under a minute to play. On second-and-12 from the Clemson 48, quarterback Jordan Travis was sacked by Clemson’s Myles Murphy, who knocked the ball loose. Defensive tackle Tyler Davis recovered the loose football at the FSU 42. It took the Tigers three plays to capitalize, as DJ Uiagalelei rumbled five yards for a touchdown and a 24-14 lead with 19 seconds to go in the half.
Freshman Impact: Antonio Williams continues to be the Tigers’ energizer. On Clemson’s second possession, he got lost behind the FSU secondary and hauled in a 59-yard touchdown pass from DJ Uiagalelei. The touchdown tied the game at 7-7 with 6: 52 to play in the first quarter.
Stat of the Game: Clemson’s defense, which held NC State and Boston College under 280 yards, gave up 460 yards to Florida State, including 206 on the ground. The Seminoles averaged 6.9 yards per carry. The Tigers were allowing 2.2 yards per carry coming in and just 63.7 per game on the ground.
Up Next: Clemson will return home for Homecoming next week with first place in the ACC Atlantic Division at stake. The Syracuse Orange beat NC State on Saturday to improve their record to 6-0 and 3-0 in ACC.
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The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.