LOCATION: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C. (79,000)
RADIO: 104.9 WCCP FM
SPREAD: Florida State by 2
COACHES: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is 49-33 (67-37 overall) in his seventh season with the Tigers. FSU head coach Bobby Bowden is 285-73-4 in his 30th season with the Seminoles and 358-105-4 overall.
SERIES: Florida State holds a 15-3 advantage in the series with Clemson dating to a 38-13 Florida State win in Tallahassee in 1970. Clemson has three wins in the series, but two took place in Tallahassee, in 1976 by a 15-12 score and in 1989 by a 34-23 score. Clemson's only win in Death Valley took place in 2003, a 26-10 victory. This will be the fourth Bowden Bowl held at Death Valley. Florida State has a 2-1 advantage in the previous three at Clemson, but all three games have been close. Clemson won in 2003 and FSU had a three-point win in 1999, the same year the Seminoles won the National Championship. Florida State won 41-27 in a high scoring game in 2001. The combined scores of the three Bowden Bowls at Clemson have been FSU 68 and Clemson 67.
FSU KEY PLAYER: QB Drew Weatherford. Weatherford, the ACC's top passer (258 ypg), was shaky in last weekend's 20-15 home loss to N.C. State, completing 19-of-38 passes with a touchdown and three interceptions. How will he respond Saturday in the most hostile environment he's played in this year coming off his most disappointing performance of his young career?
INJURIES: Clemson- QB Charlie Whitehurst (shoulder) gametime decision, WR Kelvin Grant (ACL) out, DT Donnell Clark (ACL) out, LS Nic Riddle (shoulder) questionable. Florida State- OT John Frady (shoulder) out, CB Antonio Cromartie (ACL) out, RB Leon Washington (ankle) out, DE Kamerion Wimbley (MCL) out, CB Gerard Ross (knee) questionable, WR De'Cody Fagg (shoulder) probable, DL Anthony Kelly (groin) probable, OL Matt Meinrod (broken leg) out, QB Wyatt Sexton (illness) out.
WEATHER FORECAST: Temperatures are expected to reach the mid to upper 60's for Saturday's noon kickoff under mostly sunny skies. Winds will be out of the southwest at six mph.
CLEMSON QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think people want to see are you closing the gap on the competition or the major leaders in the conference. I think over the past few years we have. If you look at our Miami game and Florida State's Miami game, if you look at our N.C. State game and their N.C. State game, it surely is a game based on those facts that we're very capable of winning. We'll have to play pretty good, as anybody that beats Florida State has to, because they're very talented and well coached. But again, based on those facts, it's a game surely our players, and our coaches, feel like we can win if we play well." -- Tommy Bowden on closing the talent gap with Florida State and his team's chances in Saturday's game.
FSU QUOTE TO NOTE: "Since 1999, there has always been some pretty good hype going into it. It would definitely help us in terms of our mental focus and confidence because Clemson is just as loud as Florida." -- FSU RB Lorenzo Booker on playing at Clemson on Saturday.
* Fry: It's Still Florida State
* Whitehurst Expected to Start
* Noles Confident Despite Injuries
* Fans Encouraged to Arrive Early
* Roy's Picks: Week No. 11
* This is Florida State ... Right?
* Whitehurst: "I Thought I Threw Well"
* Wednesday's Clemson Football Notebook
* 'Noles Dealing with Rash of Injuries
* Something to Prove
* Whitehurst Splits Reps Again
* What We are Hearing...
* Koenning Discusses Changes at CB
* Tommy Bowden's Tuesday Press Conference
* Tuesday Player Audio
* Depth Chart
* Game Notes
WHAT TO WATCH: When Clemson has the Ball - Surprisingly, Clemson now ranks second in the ACC in total offense, trailing just one team- Florida State. Questions continue to exist at quarterback where the health of senior Charlie Whitehurst is still a concern. Barring an unexpected change with his injury Whitehurst is expected to start, but the coaching staff will keep a close eye on his performance. Back up Will Proctor was effective in his first career start against Duke last week, and his mobility could be a valuable asset against FSU, a team Clemson has traditionally used its quarterback to run the ball. Freshman RB James Davis is also expected to be used much more than his eight carries a week ago. Clemson is still first in the ACC in red zone production, but the Tigers' offense must score touchdowns as opposed to field goals Saturday to beat Florida State. FSU has allowed 11 passes of 20 yards or more this season, with three resulting in touchdowns. On the ground, the Seminoles have given up 11 rushes for 20 yards or more with four of those resulting in touchdowns.
When Florida State has the Ball- With two of the most explosive running backs in all of college football in Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington (and don't forget about freshman Antone Smith), it comes as a shock to see Florida State ranked 99th in the country in rushing entering this game. At the same time, FSU leads the ACC in total offense (420 ypg), passing offense (309 ypg), and scoring offense (33.9 ppg). QB Drew Weatherford threw three interceptions last weekend against N.C. State before being benched in favor of Xavier Lee, who wasn't much better, completing just one of seven passes for three yards. Keep an eye on WR Chris Carr (6-6, 203), who presents match up problems against any defensive back he faces this year. The Seminoles will also welcome back wide receivers Willie Reid and De'Cody Fagg from injuries this week, which should help Weatherford in the vertical passing game. The Tigers will bring five defensive backs (three safeties) on the field to provide more speed against the Seminoles' potent attack Saturday. Clemson must defend the long ball better than it did against Duke last weekend, when it gave up over 300 yards in the air to one of the worst passing teams in the country. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning may start freshman Haydrian Lewis at cornerback, but look for Sergio Gilliam and Duane Coleman to see plenty of time as well.
Special Teams- Clemson's Jad Dean continues to be one of the top kickers in the nation, leading the ACC in scoring with 87 points (9.7/game). FSU kicker Gary Cismesia has also enjoyed a strong year, connecting on 12-of-16 field goal attempts. Both FSU and Clemson rank in the middle of the pack in the ACC in kickoff coverage. The Tigers are dead last in the conference in net punting, but Cole Chason has shown improvement over the course of his last two games, averaging just over 39 yards per punt with his last six attempts. Clemson's kickoff return unit has also shown improvement with freshmen Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham starting the last two games.
Intangibles- It's Bowden Bowl VII, and even though the "father vs. son" game may have lost its luster in recent years, its still one of the most unique yearly match ups in all of college sports. Tommy Bowden needs this one more than his father as the Seminoles have already clinched the Atlantic Division title, and the Tigers are still trying to become bowl eligible. This game is also the last home game for several key seniors, including Charlie Whitehurst and Tye Hill. Can Charlie lead this team to another win over a ranked team? The Tigers have traditionally played FSU well at home, but can they find a way to win what looks to be a close game after losing four games this season by a combined 14 points? Somebody has to step up and make the big play with the game on the line. Who will it be? Keep an eye on the running backs - James Davis and Reggie Merriweather.
DON'T FORGET! The Tiger Pre-Game show will be broadcasting live Saturday morning from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM, with the last two hours coming to you live from the Lawn at Littlejohn. Tune in to 104.9 WCCP FM in upstate South Carolina or on the world wide web on wccpfm.com.
RB Leon Washington
RB Lorenzo Booker
Head coach Bobby Bowden