"We took it on the chin," he said. "We flat out didn't play well and take advantage of the opportunity."
There weren't many other startling revelations after his review of Saturday night's film.
"We gave up 24 points off of turnovers and we got none," he said. "We had 12 possessions and got into their territory nine times and only scored twice.
"We're a pretty good red zone team and plus-territory-type of team. [It] just wasn't the case."
Ball control had been another one of the team's strengths, but the Tigers coughed up the ball four times, two through the air and two more on the ground. Tajh Boyd was responsible for three of them.
"The big story was the four turnovers. We had four all year coming into that type of the year," Swinney said. "We just can't make those types of mistakes that we made, offensively, and have a chance to win a ball game like. The momentum of it, we just couldn't get it back."
The defense wasn't without fault either.
"Defensively, worst we've done from a yards after catch standpoint," Swinney said. "We gave up some big plays. The worst we've done on third-down in a while on both sides of the ball."
But Swinney had plenty of positive to things about Florida State. The Seminoles didn't win just because Clemson shot itself in the foot early and often.
"They out-played us and out-coached us in every regard," Swinney said. "But that's what we do as coaches. We come in here and evaluate. We get the guys in here in the morning and we'll make the corrections, really challenge everybody, each other [then] flush it, refocus and get back on track at Maryland."
The approach to this week's trip to College Park wouldn't be any different if Clemson had won 51-14.
"You coach for the season. You don't let one game make or break your season," Swinney said. "Ultimately, you want to have the best year that you could possibly have. Very disappointed, because we felt that we had a very good opportunity and didn't take advantage of it.
"Really never gave our crowd an opportunity to get behind us, like we would have liked."
The CB quandarySwinney is all too familiar with having to make due with a minimal amount of cornerbacks. For at least the first half next week's game at Maryland, Clemson will be pretty short-handed on experience.
Garry Peters is out until at least the Georgia Tech game after undergoing foot surgery before the Florida State game.
Bashaud Breeland is suspended for the first half of the Maryland game because of his ejection on Saturday for targeting.
A safety for the first few months of his Clemson career, Cordera Tankersley got a few reps there last week during practice. He'll work full-time at cornerback this week.
"I'm excited about [Tankersley] getting that work," Swinney said. "We've got Jerrodd Williams, how's also a backup corner for us."
Mackensie Alexander, who practiced on the scout team for the first time of the season last Wednesday, is not an option to play against Maryland.
"He's still recovering from his surgery and doing good," Swinney said.
Targeting call on BreelandSwinney was also asked on the third quarter targeting call on Breeland, which resulted in an ejection from the game.
"I didn't think it was flagrant. It looked liked he tried to kind of pulled up. It wasn't the crown of his helmet, it was the facemask," Swinney said. "Per the rule, the quarterback is a defenseless guy. You can't be above the shoulders. Per the rules, it's the right call.