Clemson - FSU Game Notes

Clemson hopes history repeats itself when the Tigers travel to Tallahassee to play Florida State this coming Saturday.

Clemson vs. Florida State Series
Florida State has a 15-4 advantage in the series with Clemson dating to a 38-13 Florida State win in Tallahassee in 1970, but the Tigers have won two of the last three. Both wins have come at Clemson and this game will be played in Tallahassee, where Clemson has not won since 1989.

Clemson has four wins in the series, two in Tallahassee (1976 and 1989) and two in Clemson (2003 and 2005). Florida State has a 7-2 record at Clemson and an 8-2 record in Tallahassee.

Florida State had won 11 in a row in the series prior to Clemson's win in 2003. Those were the first 11 games of the series when FSU joined the ACC (1992). The Seminoles have won seven in a row in Tallahassee and the average score has been 43-9 (299-63 overall score). Florida State has scored at least 41 points in each of the last four games between the two teams in Tallahassee. That includes 54 in a 54-7 Florida State victory in 2000, Bowden's worst defeat as a head coach.

Florida State has been ranked in the top 20 in all 15 games the Seminoles have played against the Tigers since they joined the ACC. That includes this year as Florida State is ninth in AP and 10th by USA Today. Florida State has just 11 ACC losses since they joined the league and they are now within one ACC championship of tying Clemson's record of 13.

Clemson will attempt to become just the second ACC school to defeat Florida State in consecutive years. NC State is the only school to do it, gaining victories in 2001 and 2002 behind Phillip Rivers, current starting quarterback of the San Diego Chargers. The only quarterback to defeat Florida State twice on his home turf is Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst, who is now the backup quarterback of the San Diego Chargers.

This could have been a battle of top 25 teams had Clemson held on to defeat Boston College last week. But the Tigers are 26th in the latest Associated Press poll and 27th in the latest USA Today poll. Overall, there have been six meetings in the series in which both teams have been in the top 25 of at least one poll. Clemson is 1-5 in those meetings with the only win coming in 1989. Both Clemson wins in recent years (2003 and 2005), the Tigers have been unranked entering the game.

Clemson-Florida State Connections
There are many connections between Clemson and Florida State in terms of coaching and administrative personnel:

*Clemson Assistant Head Coach and offensive line coach Brad Scott served as offensive coordinator of Florida State's National Championship team of 1993. He served as an assistant with the Florida State program from 1983-93, including the 1990-93 era when he was offensive coordinator. He has a master's degree from Florida State in athletic administration, a degree he earned in 1984. He was on the Florida State sideline in 1988 when the Seminoles executed the "Puntrooskie play".

*Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews served in the same capacity for Clemson between 1976-80 and held the assistant head coach title under Danny Ford in 1980.

*Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden was a graduate assistant at Florida State in 1978 and 1979, then served as tight ends coach of the Seminoles in 1981 and 1982. *Tommy Bowden's brother Jeff Bowden is the offensive coordinator for Florida State.

*Hootie Ingram, now retired and living in Alabama, was Clemson's head football coach from 1970-72, then served as Florida State's Athletic Director in the 1980s. It was basically Ingram's idea to change Clemson's logo to the Tiger paw in 1970.

Last Year vs. Florida State
Clemson 35, Florida State 14
Clemson scored 21 third-quarter points to break open a tie game at halftime on its way to a 35-14 win over #16 Florida State. It was the Tigers' second straight win over the Seminoles in Death Valley. It was Senior Day for Clemson's senior class, including quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who had also had quarterback Clemson to the win over the Seminoles in 2003.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched 72 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown. Whitehurst completed 6-7 passes on the drive, with his final attempt a touchdown strike to Chansi Stuckey from 22 yards.

Florida State picked up a first down on its opening possession before being forced to punt. Stuckey raced up to catch the short punt by Chris Hall, but muffed the punt before falling on his own fumble.

The Tiger offense went right back to work with James Davis beginning the next drive with an 11-yard run. After Whitehurst hit Stuckey for a 36-yard pass, Davis scored on a one-yard plunge.

Florida State responded with a scoring drive of its own, moving 47 yards in eight plays, with Gary Cismesia connecting on a 31-yard field goal to get the Seminoles on the scoreboard.

The Seminole defense forced Clemson into a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, and regained possession at its own 48. On first down, Weatherford hit tight end Matt Henshaw for 26 yards. Three more plays produced only one yard, and Cismesia came on and drilled another field goal, this time from 47 yards.

The two teams traded punts before Clemson began its next drive at its own 33. The Tigers could not pick up a first down, and Cole Chason's punt was blocked by Lawrence Timmons and recovered in the endzone for a touchdown by Geno Hayes. Weatherford hit De'Cody Fagg over the middle for the two-point conversion, tying the score 14-14.

The Seminoles appeared to be on their way to take their first lead of the day to open the third quarter, but a nine-play drive was ended when Michael Hamlin picked off Weatherford.

On third-and-eight, Whitehurst hit Stuckey for 20 yards to the Seminole 34. Two plays later, Whitehurst found Stuckey again for 32 yards on a screen pass for a score. It was his fourth receiving touchdown in two games, after going the first 71 catches of his career without a touchdown catch.

Two penalties helped move the Seminoles backwards on their next drive, and Stuckey returned Hall's punt nine yards to the Clemson 48.

The Tigers followed with an eight-play, 52- yard drive that ended with an eight-yard touchdown run by Davis. Seven of the eight plays on the drive gained at least six yards. After an exchange of punts, Florida State began its next drive at its own 20. Weatherford's pass on first down was intercepted by C.J. Gaddis, and he returned it 23 yards to the Seminole 11.

On third down from the four, Whitehurst lofted a pass to the back pylon and Aaron Kelly made a diving grab. Initially, Kelly was ruled out of bounds. But after a replay review, he was ruled to have been in bounds for a touchdown. Dean's extra point gave Clemson a 35-14 lead. The 21 third-quarter points were the most by Clemson against the Seminoles since they scored 21 in a quarter in 1989. There were no more scoring threats in the game and Clemson came away with a 35-14 victory. The Tigers allowed only 226 yards of total offense to Florida State, who came into the game leading the ACC in that category.

Whitehurst had a day to remember in his final game at Death Valley, completing 21 of 32 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Stuckey caught 11 passes for 156 yards and two scores. Stuckey became the first wideout in Clemson history to have at least two touchdown receptions in consecutive games. Davis added 65 yards on the ground on 17 carries to earn ACC Rookie-of-the-Week honors.

Clemson was led defensively by Duane Coleman's nine tackles. Charles Bennett had three tackles for loss, and Gaines Adams added 2.5 tackles for loss. Also, Brandon Cannon had two sacks to help give the Tigers six total sacks and 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. It was the fourth win over a ranked team for Clemson's senior class at home, as they finished their careers with a 20-6 mark at Death Valley.

Tigers Look for First win in Tallahassee since 1989
Clemson hopes history repeats itself when the Tigers travel to Tallahassee to play Florida State this coming Saturday. The last time Clemson won in Tallahassee was 1989 and the Tigers came away with the 34-23 victory thanks to the play of quarterback Chris Morocco. Morocco was a fifth-year senior, but was in his first year as a starter. The September 9, 1989 contest at Doak Campbell Stadium was just his third career start.

Clemson quarterback Will Proctor is in his fifth year with the program, but is in his first year as the starter. He is the first Clemson quarterback to be a fifth year senior and in his first year as the starting quarterback since Morocco did it in 1989. Morocco sat behind Rodney Williams prior to his senior year. Williams is the winningest quarterback in Clemson history with 32 wins. Proctor sat behind Charlie Whitehurst, the second winningest quarterback in Clemson history with 25 victories.

Morocco completed 8-9 passes for 134 yards and had seven rushes for 30 yards in taking the Clemson offense to 389 yards of offense that night. Clemson came away with the 34-23 victory. Clemson has not won in Tallahassee since that September evening. Clemson had a 28-10 lead at intermission in that game thanks to three Terry Allen touchdowns. His final score of the first half came with just 1:16 left. Trying to run the clock out to end the half, Allen raced 73 yards for a score down the sidelines to give Clemson the large halftime lead.

Wayne Simmons also had a 73-yard interception return for a score in that first half.

Chris Gardocki, still playing professionally as the punter for the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, had two field goals in the second half and averaged 42.5 yards per punt. Other prominent future NFL players who played for the Tigers that night include Levon Kirkland, Ed McDaniel and Chester McGlockton. That would be Florida State's last loss of the 1989 season as they finished with a 10-2 record. Clemson also finished that season with a 10-2 mark.

This year's game is on a Saturday night and will be televised by ESPN, just as the 1989 game was.

Bowden Bowls
This is the eighth Bowden Bowl and Bobby Bowden has a 5-2 advantage over his son Tommy Bowden in the previous seven. But, as stated above, Tommy has won two of the last three. This is the only recorded series in Division I college football history in which father has coached against son.

Here is a short summary of each of the first seven Bowden Bowls:

1999—The first meeting in 1999 was a festive atmosphere at Clemson as an all-time record crowd of 86,092 attended the game. That record will probably stand for many years due to existing fire codes at Clemson Memorial Stadium. In addition to the hype concerning the first coaching match-up of father vs. son, Bobby Bowden was going for his 300th career victory. He got the win with a struggle, 17-14. It was the closest the Seminoles came to losing in their 1999 National Championship season. Clemson had two offensive touchdowns to Florida State's one and the Florida State 17 points were the fewest scored by the Seminoles in 1999. Clemson drove to the FSU 25 with two minutes left, but a 41-yard field goal attempt by Tony Lazzara was tipped at the line of scrimmage and FSU ran out the clock from there.

2000-Florida State won the second meeting in Tallahassee by a 54-7 score. Clemson entered the game with an 8-1 record and #10 national ranking, while FSU was fourth in the nation. It was just the third meeting of top 10 teams in ACC history. Clemson was coming off a 31-28 last second loss to Georgia Tech that had broken an eight-game winning streak, the longest for the Tigers under Tommy Bowden. Florida State gained 771 yards of total offense, most ever against the Tigers, including an opponent record 521 through the air. Florida State running back Davy Ford, the brother of current Clemson receiver Jacoby Ford, had an 82 yard run in the game, longest against a Tommy Bowden coached Clemson team.

2001—In a game at Death Valley, Clemson gained 463 yards of total offense, its high total ever against Florida State, but still lost 41-27. The Tigers could not stop freshman quarterback Chris Rix, who threw for 369 yards, leading FSU to 557 yards of total offense. Woody Dantzler kept it interesting with 336 yards of total offense, but it was not enough as FSU won for the sixth straight time under Bobby Bowden in Death Valley. His six wins are the most by a Clemson opponent in the facility that dates to 1942. Clemson ran a fake punt for a touchdown, but the play was called back because Clemson only had 10 men on the field (not enough on the line of scrimmage).

2002—Florida State came away with a 48-31 victory in a game that was televised on a Thursday night in Tallahassee by ESPN. Clemson's 31 points were the most for the Tigers in Tallahassee since 1989. Clemson won the total offense battle, 441-386, as Willie Simmons had a career high 343 yards of offense. Simmons will be making the trip to the 2006 game as a video graduate assistant on the Clemson staff. J.J. McKelvey had five catches for 117 yards to help the offense. Florida State got a 97-yard kickoff return from Leon Washington and Greg Jones had 165 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Clemson did successfully execute an on-side kick, still the only on-side kick for the Tigers since 1979.

2003-Clemson finally defeated Bobby Bowden in Death Valley with a 26-10 victory. He had been 6-0 at Clemson prior to this game. It was the second of what would be just three losses for Florida State in 2003. They were coming off a 38-0 win at Notre Dame, and Clemson was coming off a 45-17 loss at Wake Forest. Florida State was ranked third in the nation entering the game and that is still the highest ranked team Clemson has defeated in its history. Charlie Whitehurst threw for 272 yards to lead Clemson as Bobby Bowden suffered the lost on his birthday.

2004—Justin Miller set an NCAA record with 282 kickoff return yards, but the eighth ranked Seminoles defeated Clemson 41-22 in Tallahassee. Clemson had five turnovers on offense and gained just 173 yards. The Seminoles had 33 more plays that Clemson. However, it was still a 24-22 game with four minutes left in the third period. But, FSU scored the last 17 points of the game. Leon Washington's 35-yard touchdown run in the third period was the key.

2005—Clemson won for the second time in three years with a 35-14 victory at Death Valley. Clemson scored 21 points in the third period to blow the game open. Charlie Whitehurst threw for 269 yards on his senior day and Chansi Stuckey caught 11 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Clemson did not allow a touchdown by the 16th ranked Seminoles. The victory was the 50th for Tommy Bowden in his Clemson career.

Ford Hopes to Duplicate Brother's Long Run
Clemson freshman Jacoby Ford hopes to become the second person from his family to have a long run in a Bowden Bowl. Ford's older brother, Davy Ford, had an 82-yard touchdown run against the Tigers in 2000 and that is still the longest run by any opponent against a Tommy Bowden coached team.

Jacoby has the ability to make a game breaking play as well.

In the season opener he dashed 92 yards for a touchdown on a punt return against Florida Atlantic. Ford broke one of the oldest records in the Clemson media guide. The previous record for the longest punt return was 90 yards. Shad Bryant had a 90-yard punt return against VMI in a game at Charlotte in 1938 and Bobby Gage ran the same distance against NC State in a 6-0 Clemson victory in 1948. Clemson had just four punt returns for a score in the 28 seasons prior to Tommy Bowden's arrival (1971-98), but now has six in the Bowden era (eight years). Clemson went 17 years without a punt return for a score between 1970-87.

Ford is a receiver by trade and is yet to be the intended receiver. But, he is the major reason Clemson leads the ACC in punt returns with a 29.2 average through two games. Ford has 2-94 so far this year and would be leading the league if he had enough attempts to qualify. He also has three kickoff returns for 60 yards.

Tiger Veterans vs. Florida State
*Gained Adams (DE)—Had four tackles, including two for loss and a sack in Clemson's 2003 win over Florida State. Had two tackles in 29 plays in 2004 game in Tallahassee. Had four tackles, including 25. tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in 2005 Clemson victory.

*Nathan Bennett (OG) Started the 2003 game as a freshman and had season high 12 knockdown blocks to tie for team best. Had team best 79 percent coaches film grade in 2004 game in Tallahassee as a starter. Came off the bench in last year's Tiger victory and had 9.5 knockdown blocks and graded 80 percent.

*Brandon Cannon (DE)—Had three tackles, including the only two sacks of his career in 2005 Clemson victory over Florida State.

*Cole Chason (P)—Has been starting punter three times vs. Florida State. Had 33.8 average in 2003 game, but three of his five punts were inside the 20. Had 7 punts for 39.6 average at Tallahassee in 2004. Had seven punts for 36 yard average in 2005.

*Duane Coleman (CB)—Clemson's leading tackler in 2005 victory with nine tackles. That was his first career start at cornerback. Had a career high five receptions as a running back in 2003 Clemson victory.

*James Davis (RB)—Had 17 rushes for 65 yards and one reception for 44 yards in win over Florida State in 2005.

*Jad Dean (PK)—Made 5-5 extra points and missed a 56-yard field goal attempt in Clemson victory in 2005.

*Marion Dukes (OT)—Had career high 10.5 knockdown blocks in Clemson victory in 2005. Led the team in knockdown blocks with seven against Florida State in 2004.

*Dustin Fry (C)—Had 8.5 knockdowns and graded 81 percent against Florida State in 2005.

*Roman Fry (OG)—Had career high 18 knockdown blocks, high for a Clemson player in any game last year, in Tigers win over Florida State in 2005.

*C.J. Gaddis (C B)—Had 23-yard interception return in 2005 victory at Clemson. Had blocked punt that resulted in a safety in 2004 game in Tallahassee.

*Rashaad Jackson (DT)—Had five tackles, including half a sack in 2005 game at Clemson.

*Aaron Kelly (WR)—Had 2-13 receiving, including a nine-yard touchdown reception in 2005 game as a freshman.

*Reggie Merriweather (RB)—Had 5-19 rushing vs. Florida State in 2004. Had 17-35 against the Seminoles in 2005.

*Barry Richardson (OT)—Had 88 percent grade and 11.5 knockdown blocks as a starter in 2005 Clemson victory. Made his first career start at Florida State in 2004.

*Chansi Stuckey (WR)—Had 11 receptions for career high 156 yards and scored two touchdowns in 2005 victory. The 11 receptions tied a Clemson single game record for an ACC game.

*Nick Watkins (LB)—Had seven tackles in 32 snaps in 2004 game in Tallahassee. He had just learned of his brother's death the day of departure for that game. Had six tackles, including a sack in 49 plays as a starter in 2005 game.

Clemson vs. FSU is Battle of Strengths
It is very early in the season, but this Clemson vs. Florida State game could be a showdown of the ACC's top offense against the ACC's top defense. A look to the early season stats shows that Clemson leads the ACC in scoring with a 43.5 average, is first in total offense with 431 yards per game, is first in third down conversion at 55 percent, is second in first downs with 44, is second in rushing offense with 173 yards per game, is second in passing efficiency and is second in passing offense with a 258.0 figure. Clemson is eighth in the nation in scoring and 22nd in total offense entering the Florida State game.

Florida State on the other hand is first in the ACC in rushing defense, allowing just 13 years per game and is second in total defense allowing just 214.5 yards per game. In fact the Seminoles are first in the nation in rushing defense and 11th in total defense.

Individually, Clemson has the ACC's top rusher in James Davis (93.5 yards per game), the top receiver in the ACC in Chansi Stuckey (8.0 receptions per game), and the ACC leader in total offense in Will Proctor (260 yards per game). Proctor also leads the ACC in touchdown passes and ranks second in passing efficiency with a 158.8 figure.

Clemson has another threat in freshman C.J. Spiller who is third in the ACC in all-purpose running.

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