Clemson outmatched Florida State in every aspect of the game Saturday night in Tallahassee, except the one that mattered the most–the final score. At the end of the game Clemson was wondering how they were on the wrong end of a 23-17 score.
The Tigers were in control for most of the game until a touchdown in overtime kept the top ranked Seminoles from turning into an upset victim. The game shouldn’t have come down to overtime and Clemson knows it. Four trips to the red zone that yielded a grand total of zero points cost the Tigers a chance to take down a #1 ranked team for the first time in school history.
A recap of what went wrong:
1st quarter: Cole Stoudt throws low to an open Jordan Leggett on third down inside the 10. The pass is incomplete. If Leggett gets a decent pass he scores. Compounding matters Ammon Lakip missed a 23 yard chip shot field goal.
3rd quarter: Stanton Seckenger caught a 20 yard pass from Deshaun Watson that was initially called a touchdown. Replay indicated he was down on the one yard line. The Tigers were stopped just short on a first down run. Florida State jumped off sides on second down; that moved the ball inches away from the goal line. On third down Ryan Norton snapped the ball over Watson’s head for a 23 yard loss. One play later Lakip missed a 40 yard field goal.
4th quarter: Clemson forced a turnover with less that two minutes to play and returned the interception to the Florida State 26. After an eight yard run the Tigers had a 2nd-and-2 from the 18, in great position to win the game with a field goal. C.J. Davidson took the handoff on the next play but he fumbled and the Seminoles recovered on the 14. The ran out the clock to force overtime.
Overtime: Facing a 4th and inches on the FSU 16, the Tigers were stopped for no-gain.
These miscues cost Clemson the game. Despite the fact the Tigers held the Seminoles to -13 yards rushing through four quarters; Outgained them 407-318; won the turnover battle; had more big plays, they still lost. Had they converted just one of the above red zone chances they would have won.
Inside the locker room:
Dabo Swinney was as disappointed as you would imagine a guy would be after a loss like this. He did say Deshaun Watson earned the right to start. Watson played every snap from the fourth series on. We’ve got Dabo’s comments, along with offensive coordinator Chad Morris and the aforementioned Watson below.
Here are the in game recaps from each quarter and overtime, along with final stats.