Christian Ponder threw for a touchdown and ran for another Saturday and Antone Smith ran for two scores as No. 24 Florida State defeated Clemson 41-27 Saturday on coach Bobby Bowden's 79th birthday.
Clemson (4-5, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) had won the last three games in the series before Saturday's loss. Interim Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is 1-2 since taking over.
Florida State (7-2, 4-2) overcame an early 10-0 deficit to lead 20-17 at halftime after both teams converted turnovers into touchdowns.
It was the fourth straight week the Seminoles have spotted an opponent at least 10 points--rallying for wins in three of those, losing the other on a last-minute fumble.
The win makes Florida State bowl eligible for the 27th consecutive season-- now the longest streak in the country--and keeps them tied with Wake Forest for first place in the ACC's Atlantic Division.
Clemson started fast with C.J. Spiller going 44 yards on a short pass from Cullen Harper to finish off a quick 80-yard opening drive. The Tigers went ahead 10-0 five minutes later Mark Buchholz's 41-yard field goal.
Harper threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his costly interception that got Florida State started.
Defensive end Neefy Moffett scored on an 18-yard interception of an ill-advised throw by Harper to get the Seminoles a 10-10 tie, a minute and 40 seconds after Florida State's Graham Gano stretched his school mark to 16 straight field goals with a 52-yard kick.
After Gano put Florida State up 13-10 with his 17th consecutive made field goal, this from 37 yards, Clemson took its last lead at 17-13 on Harper's 8-yard touchdown pass to Michael Palmer. The Tigers were set up when they recovered a fumbled punt by Florida State's Tony Carter at the Seminoles 9.
Ponder's 1-yard TD run put Florida State the lead for keeps at 20-17 with 1:25 left in the half and he hit Corey Surrency on a 14-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the second half as the Seminoles stretched their advantage to 27-17.
Smith scored his 12th and 13th rushing touchdowns of the season on runs of 1 and 41 yards in the fourth quarter around Spiller's 2-yard TD that got Clemson to within a touchdown with 2:20 left.
The loss means the Tigers must win all of three of their remaining games to get to a bowl game.
Clemson returns home next weekend to face off against the Duke Blue Devils.
Kickoff is set for noon.
Tigers Run Out of Gas
CUTigers.com Top Stories
RECRUITING RADARIn our weekly Recruiting Radar, CUTigers Recruiting Analyst Gary McDaniel updates you on the latest news and intel on the Clemson recruiting front!
CUTigers.comThursday at 2:18 AM
Pagano to TransferAfter helping Clemson win a National Championship and earning his degree, Scott Pagano has decided it is time for him to move on.
TIGERS TAKE A W FROM WAKEAfter back-to-back heartbreaking losses to Syracuse and Duke, the Tigers built a 21-point lead on Wake Forest and won by 12 to complete the season sweep of the Deacs and keep their…
DEJA BLUEFor the second straight game, Clemson had the lead or a chance to win on the final possession of the game and came up just short. This time, it was against #18 Duke in the most…