Defensive Miscue Haunts FSU Late in Loss

The FSU football team fell victim to a late surge by the Clemson offense in Saturday night's 27-20 loss. It was Tiger tailback James Davis' (pictured) one-yard run that gave Clemson the win but it was the Seminoles' error just a few plays prior that handed it to the visitors.

The Florida State defense is historically known for its speed and tenacity. It's also a Seminole standard to rotate a plethora of players on that side of the ball.

Through the years it has provided added experience to young and veteran payers alike and the result has spoken for itself. But in Saturday's 27-20 defeat to the Clemson Tigers, the hustling and bustling of movement on defense finally caught up to them.

When Clemson tailback James Davis scampered 47 yards to set up a one-yard game-winning touchdown run with eight seconds left to play, that became painfully obvious for the FSU players, coaches and the 83,510 fans in attendance.

In essence, what happened is simple. After Clemson quarterback Will Proctor connected with wide receiver Aaron Kelly to move the ball to the Tiger 49 yard line with under two minutes to play and the scored tied, the defense failed to get set properly.

A baffled Bobby Bowden said after the game, "It could be that we were trying to get lined up and they snapped the ball quickly."

It just so happens that the Seminoles weren't at all prepared either.

"I know I wasn't ready," said starting cornerback Tony Carter, who was responsible for eight of the Seminoles' points thanks to two returned blocked kicks. "We were looking at the sideline for a call and we were trying to get different personnel in the game and their offensive coordinator did a smart thing of hurrying up and snapping the ball."

Knotted at 20 points apiece and the kicking game struggling mightily, the general perception was that the Tigers might try to run the clock out and take its chances in an extra period.

The Seminole defense, though, was operating under a different impression.

"We were thinking they were going to go for a big play and try to win it because the crowd was behind us," Carter said. They would have had their back against the wall if we had gone into overtime. We were thinking pass.

"We had our dime defense out there so we are thinking pass or they are going to try and run something tricky. They got us on some trickery in the first half. So we were thinking of that. They ran the ball and they got it done."

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