Still O'Fer Versus FSU

Florida State continued its perfect record in Death Valley Saturday evening by defeating the Tigers 41-27. It also continued the now three game winning steak of father versus son in the Bowden Bowl. It also continued the utter frustration of Clemson at home this year, where the Tigers have yet to win an ACC game and have struggled in their non-conference wins.

Let's take a look back and grade my "5 Things To Watch" in regards to the Florida State game.

#1-Home Field Advantage
Death Valley was certainly electric Saturday as the Tigers and their home faithful tried their best to rattle the ‘Noles. The crowd was teetering on exploding when the Tigers faked a punt for a touchdown to cut the Seminole lead to 17-13 pending the extra point. We will never know how FSU would have reacted to the emotion because the TD was called back due to an illegal formation. From that point forward, however, the air had been let out of the balloon.

Rhymer's Grade…B

#2-Win The Turnover Battle
For the second straight week, the Tigers won the turnover battle. The Tigers forced 3 FSU turnovers and gave up only 2 themselves. Winning the turnover battle probably kept Clemson closer than they should have been in the game. The Tigers needed to avoid turnovers themselves, which they did not do.

Rhymer's Grade…B

#3-Be Aggressive
I am not a defensive coordinator, but I do know that the Tigers were not playing tight coverage in the secondary like Reggie Herring indicated they would. Soft coverage was picked apart underneath by Rix, and once again the Tiger defense gave up long passes. Give a ton of credit to Rix, who was on the money all night, but this is a broken record for the Tiger defense and we all have grown sick of the song.

Rhymer's Grade…F

#4-Run With Authority
Travis Zachery and Bernard Rambert combined for 103 yards rushing against a very good FSU defense. Rambert saw a good many more carries this week than in the past few weeks, and he showed a burst of speed. Still, no big plays were garnered by the running backs, which continues to be frustrating. Clemson needs to continue the emphasis on the running backs in the remaining games this year, because the potential with Rambert is there.

Rhymer's Grade…B+

#5-Trick And Treat
It was a beautiful call and it worked to perfection, but it was called back due to an illegal formation. Maybe the one play that could have changed the game was for not, and the Tigers were left saying "what if". As good of a call the fake punt was, you wonder why we did not see other trick plays in the game. One trick, even had it worked, probably would not have been enough. The Tiger coaching staff should have pulled more out of the hat.

Rhymer's Grade…C

The Tigers hit the road this week to play Maryland. The Terps are having a great year under first year head coach Ralph Friedgen, and they are still hopes in College Park that the Terps could win the ACC Championship.

Too many are writing off this season before it is even close to being finished. Winning against Maryland, USC, and Duke would give the Tigers an 8-3 regular season. Pretty darn good considering the amount of young people playing prominent roles on both sides of the ball. Can the Tigers Wins out? Yes. Will they? We'll see, starting Saturday.

Here are my "5 Things To Watch" for the Maryland game Saturday night.

#1-Solve The Fridge
Ralph Friedgen has had his way with Clemson as the offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets always had the Tiger defense guessing, and expect more of the same Saturday. The key will be can Maryland do as much damage with less talent than Coach Ralph had a Tech? Maryland will get theirs (everybody else has versus the Tiger D), but once again we need to see some stops to give the offense a chance.

#2-Woody All The Way
Similar to the Georgia Tech and NC State games from earlier this year, Woody will have to run amok against the Terps. Dantzler is closing in on a 2000 yard passing and 1000 yard rushing year and he needs to pad both of those numbers Saturday. Woody's career is winding down in Tigertown, and we need a few more miracles from him.

#3-Road Kings?
The Tigers have played their best football away from Death Valley, and this week they are about as far away as they ever are. Maryland will be pumped up, but the Tigers need to capture that enthusiasm that allowed them to gather wins in Atlanta and Raleigh. The pressure sits on the Terps, and the Tigers need to prey upon that as the night goes on.

#4-Mental Toughness
It would be real easy to be down this week after the loss to FSU. Somehow the coaching staff needs to instill in this team that there are positive things that can still happen to them as the year goes on. This week may be the biggest coaching challenge of the year.

#5-Luck Anywhere?
Ok, so we need a little luck to fall into our laps. This team has had its fair share of bad breaks all year, and it is time to start tipping the scales in this department. Is it too much to ask for a little good luck?

Scott can be reached at

Scott is the host of "The College Football Weekend Preview" on Thursday nights from 8-10 p.m. immediately falling Tiger Calls on WCCP 104.9 FM. The show can also be heard via the Internet at Top Stories