Photo by Jacob Kupferman

#3 Clemson Beats #12 Florida State

#3 Clemson wins another thriller--this time in come-from-behind fashion at #12 Florida State!

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TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — Third-ranked Clemson trailed Florida State 28-20 entering the fourth quarter on Saturday, but showed its mettle late in a 37-34 come from behind win to stun the Seminoles in Doak Campbell Stadium. Jordan Leggett provided the go-ahead touchdown with 2:06 remaining, and Clemson pushed its perfect record to 8-0 (5-0 in the ACC) on the season. Florida State dropped to 5-3 (2-3) with the loss. It was Clemson’s first win in Tallahassee since 2006, and only the second win for the Tiger program at Doak Campbell Stadium since the Seminoles joined the ACC in 1992.

Deshaun Watson was masterful in the fourth quarter after a pair of costly turnovers earlier in the game. The signal-caller finished 27-for-43 for 378 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 52 yards on the ground as well. Leggett produced a career-best 122 receiving yards, most in school history by a tight end.

The Tigers scored the first 14 points of the game, as Watson came out efficient, hitting nine of his first 10 passes. Following an opening drive score by Wayne Gallman, the Tigers again found paydirt when Watson connected with Hunter Renfrow for a four-yard touchdown. Renfrow finished the night with five catches for 62 yards.

But FSU would not go away. The Seminoles took advantage of the first Tiger interception in the second quarter when Watson’s pass intended for Mike Williams got away. Florida State cashed in with a touchdown, and narrowed the deficit to just three at the half (17-14) when Nyqwan Murray hauled in a five-yard touchdown from Deondre Francois with 23 seconds left before intermission.

Watson’s second interception also turned into points. One play after jumping a route on the Tigers’ signal-caller, Seminole star Dalvin Cook took a handoff to the right and raced 43 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. He added another, even longer at 70 yards, a couple of possessions later to give his team a 28-20 edge heading into the fourth quarter. Cook ended the game with 169 yards on 19 carries, with four touchdowns.

Clemson pulled within two on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Gallman’s second touchdown run. Gallman finished the game with 82 yards on 20 carries. The drive was aided when FSU suffered a targeting penalty and subsequent ejection on the second Williams reception of the possession.

After the Tigers went ahead 29-28 on Greg Huegel’s 46-yard field goal that split the uprights, FSU again answered with its ground attack. Cook posted his fourth touchdown scamper, an eight-yard gain over the right side. His score was set up by Freddie Stevenson’s 38-yard rush into the redzone.

Clemson again was up to the challenge. Watson drove the Tigers into position and found Leggett on 3rd-and-5 for a conversion. One play later, he found his reliable tight end wide open, and he leapt through the air and across the goalline on a diving 34-yard touchdown reception, his fourth of the season.

The Seminoles threatened after getting past midfield on their final possession, but consecutive false start penalties put them behind the chains. On 3rd-and-20, freshman Dexter Lawrence broke through the line to sack Francois for a 12-yard loss. Ben Boulware followed, and the Tiger comeback was complete.

The Tigers return home to host Syracuse on Saturday, Nov. 5 in Memorial Stadium. The game time will be announced Sunday morning.

Game Notes

TEAM

  • Clemson won its ninth straight road win, a school record.

  • Clemson’s win was its 25th straight win in a non-National Championship game.

  • Saturday’s win was Clemson’s 14th straight conference win.

  • Clemson has now won 22 consecutive regular season games.

  • Clemson’s win was its seventh over a top-25 team in its last eight opportunities.

  • Saturday marked just the second time Clemson has beaten Florida State in Tallahassee since 1989, the first since 2006.

  • Clemson is now 8-0 for just the sixth time in school history, the second year in a row.

  • Clemson’s senior class is now No. 2 in total victories with 43. The record is 46 by the 2015 seniors.

  • Clemson has consecutive wins over Florida State for the first time since winning three in a row from 2005-07

  • This is the 10th different ACC road stadium Clemson has won in the last four years.  This senior class is now 13-2 in ACC road games (only losses at FSU and Georgia Tech in 2014).

  • This senior class  is 27-3 against ACC teams. The record for ACC wins by a class is 28 by Clemson’s 2015 seniors.

  • Clemson now has 64 wins in the last six years, second only to Alabama (70) nationally.

INDIVIDUAL

  • Deshaun Watson moved  into third place in Clemson history in total wins by a starting quarterback.  He now has 26, one more than Charlie Whitehurst.

  • Watson became the first Clemson quarterback to beat Florida State in consecutive seasons. When Clemson won in 2005-06-07, three different quarterbacks started for the Tigers. Watson joins Charlie Whitehurst as only starting quarterback to beat Florida State twice. Whitehurst did it in 2003 and 2005.

  • Watson has now had at least one touchdown pass in 24 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation.

  • Wayne Gallman returned to action after a concussion suffered on the opening drive against NC State. The junior plunged into the endzone from a yard out to open Clemson’s scoring on the first possession.

  • Gallman scored two touchdowns, his first game with multiple scores since the 2015 Orange Bowl win over Oklahoma.

  • Hunter Renfrow made his first start since the second week of the season, when he suffered a hand injury on a touchdown catch against Troy.

  • Renfrow caught his third touchdown of the season (and eighth of his career), a four-yarder on Clemson’s second drive of the night.

  • Jordan Leggett posted his fourth touchdown of the season and the 15th of his career, a Clemson tight end record. He scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 34-yard reception from Watson with just over two minutes left.

  • Leggett’s 122 receiving yards marked a career high.

  • Jadar Johnson claimed his team-leading fourth interception in the opening half. It was his second straight game in Doak Campbell Stadium with an interception.

  • Clelin Ferrell collected his fourth sack of the season in the opening quarter. He and Kendall Joseph both recorded sacks of Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois on the Noles’ first possession.

 


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