3 Keys to Victory

Cullen Harper, Antone Smith and the Clemson running game highlight our three keys to victory Monday night against Florida State.

RUN, RUN, RUN: Clemson was not as successful running the ball last season against Florida State as most people think. In fact, C.J. Spiller was held to -4 yards rushing on just two carries and the bulk of James Davis' yardage came on a 47-yard run late in the fourth quarter when Clemson caught the Seminoles' defense napping with a quick snap. Davis only had 87 yards on the evening, 67 of which came on the final drive. If the Tigers can go over 150 yards on the ground against the stiff front seven of Florida State Monday night, it would go along ways towards a Clemson victory.

MANAGE THE GAME: This one goes to redshirt junior quarterback Cullen Harper, who will make his first start of his college career Monday night. Harper has said he will take his chances downfield when given the opportunity, but it will be even more important to not make major mistakes to give Florida State momentum. That means no interceptions and making appropriate reads against Mickey Andrews' talented defense. Harper has two of the top running backs in the country in the backfield, he won't have to beat the Seminoles all by himself.

KEEP ANTONE SMITH IN CHECK: The Seminoles figure to stay true to the ground game more than any other time in recent memory with new offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher calling the shots. That means don't be surprised to see Antone Smith carry the ball 20+ times. Once viewed as one of the top running backs in the nation coming of high school, Smith is hoping to have his coming out party Monday night in Death Valley. The Tigers can ill-afford to have him have a huge night and expect to win. Keep Smith contained and make QB Drew Weatherford beat you should give Clemson the best chance to win.

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