Stepping up

CLEMSON - Chad Morris said Brandon Ford's performance against the Seminoles was the most physical he's ever seen the senior play.

Against a defense entering the game ranked number one in pass defense and pass efficiency defense, Ford had four catches for a personal season-high 69 yards and two touchdowns. A fifth-year player, Ford knew the importance of playing well in such a high-stakes contest.

"This game was very important to me because for one -I wanted my team to win, and two- big boys come out in games like that."

Ford credited his mentality, rather than technique, for his increased contribution to the offense on Saturday night.

"It's definitely more of a mindset," Ford said. "Most players get intimidated by great players like #95 (defensive end Bjoern Werner). But I just told myself I have to play physical at the position I'm at in order to be most effective."

However, the tight end wasn't the only one in Tallahassee who amped up the physicality.

"They [Florida State} were a lot more physical this year with safeties over the top, and they pressed us every play," Ford said. "We were never scared or intimidated, though. It was just a good offense going against a good defense at the same time."

Against such a talented defense like Florida State, it would be considered an accomplishment for most teams to have the offense's first three-and-out come in the second half. Not for Clemson.

"That first [three-and-out] came in the third quarter when the rest of the team needed us the most, and we didn't perform," Ford said. "Usually we might have one three-and-out and then get it back going. That's what Coach Morris expects."

Asked if frustration ever set in on the sideline when Clemson's defense struggled to get just one stop, Ford said, "No, we were relaxed. We were relaxed the whole game. We knew what our offense could do, what we're capable of."

For Ford, Saturday night came down to execution. "They're a good offense, honestly. They got a good defense. They had more big plays than us and that's what killed us."

Though Clemson found itself in the "L" column for the first time this season, he said it's no reason to panic.

"We're back and focused," Ford said. "In life, you don't always win, but you've got to learn to build from it and face adversity. We'll come back strong."

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