FSU Kills Death Valley, Clemson

Florida State walked into Death Valley on Saturday night and thoroughly humiliated a very good Clemson team in the first matchup between top five teams in 2013.

May Death Valley rest in peace. Its demise came at approximately 9:00 PM on Saturday, as Florida State destroyed any mystique left in the venerable facility by demolishing a very good Clemson Tigers team on its revered home field, much to the shock of its fans and (as far as I could tell) nearly all of press row.

Not so with the NoleDigest staff. In summarizing the game, we might as well link to our game preview. The tape don't lie, folks. This demolition was simply the most likely result in a game between these teams, as the gap between them has only grown since the Noles thumped the Tigers in Tallahassee in 2012.

There's no avoiding the subject now. This FSU team may well be the best in the country and is certainly the best since the Seminoles' last national title team. And this Clemson team—despite its lofty ranking—is not of that calibre.

This was a proud Clemson team, but one with serious flaws that just happened to match up with FSU's strengths. Despite having a terrific quarterback in Tajh Boyd and one of the nation's best players in Sammy Watkins, but the Tigers simply lost too much firepower from one of the nation's best offenses last year and could not move the football with any consistency against an FSU defense built to stop the spread, averaging well under four yards per play on the night.

Similarly, an FSU offense that had been spectacular all year behind redshirt freshman phenom Jameis Winston carved up a Clemson defense that had been outstanding in passing situations but only above average on neutral downs. Florida State was able to keep good leverage all game and was rarely uncomfortable on the night.

All in all, there's no doubt that this is a very, very good Florida State team, certainly one of the best squads in the nation. But given the matchups and Clemson's weaknesses, it's still a bit early to declare the Noles ready for a national title, as FSU still needs to improve against power sets on defense in time for Miami and Florida, but without a doubt, this season is setting up as a historic one in Tallahassee.


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