Clemson Wax Noles
What is usually a match-up for the Atlantic division title these teams meet with Clemson ranked #2 in the nation and the Seminoles still trying to get untracked?
FSU is 3-1 since the debacle at Syracuse, and the one loss was the 1 point heartbreaker at Miami when they blew a 27-7 lead against the then #17 ranked Hurricanes. The 28-27 loss was hard to take, but there were positives.
After a scoreless 1st quarter, in which the Seminole defense stood their ground, it appeared that we might just end up with a classic Clemson-FSU game. Of course, the Noles offense was nonexistent, but that has been the norm in the early going, for the most part, this season.
The hope for a good game fell apart very quickly in the 2nd quarter. An apparent stop by the FSU defense forcing an FG attempt opened up the scoring for the Tigers. The FG was missed but a roughing the kicker gave Clemson new life, and they didn’t waste the opportunity. Starting on the 12, after the penalty, the Tigers got on the board with a 5 yard TD pass on 3rd down. That score sparked Clemson, and the inept offense of the Seminoles kept the FSU defense on the field most of the 2nd quarter.
Penalties and poor play overall contributed to 3 more scores, and the half ends with Florida State in a 28-0 hole! With Clemson receiving the 2nd half kickoff, FSU was going to have to really tighten up and eliminate their mistakes to have any chance of getting back in the game.
As we all know, that didn’t happen! On the 2nd play, the Tigers hit a 58 yard TD pass for a 35-0 lead. The drive, 2 plays 61 yards in 35.
FSU starts their first drive in the 2nd half, and it’s a quick 3 and out. After punting, the Noles defense force Clemson into a 3 and out, but the punt to Seminole returner D.J. Mathews is muffed, and the Tigers are in business at the 10-yard line. Florida States defense held their ground, and Clemson ended up with a 24 yard FG that pushed the score to 38-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Noles tried an ill-advised return and after a penalty started at their own 6. They do move the ball a little, but a sack on 3rd down and they are forced to punt. Clemson gets the ball at their 32, and it took 1 play for a 68-yard score from Trevor Lawrence to WR Amari Rodgers in 09. With the score now 45-0, I start thinking back as to what was the worst Seminole defeat that I have personally witnessed.
I have to go back to the 2nd to last game of the 1981 season when Reggie Collier and Southern Mississippi completely embarrassed FSU 58-14 for a 44 point home loss. Ironically the starting QB on the 1981 team was MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill.
In that 1981 season, the theme “Octoberfest” was coined for the 5 game schedule that month which included wins at Ohio State, Notre Dame, and LSU. The month was capped off by a home win against Western Carolina. The only loss, in October, was on the road to the Dan Marino lead Pitt Panthers.
So after 5 consecutive road games starting with a loss to Nebraska and culminating with a 38-14 victory at LSU, the Seminoles entered November at 6-2.
With a promising look to the end of the season with home games against Miami and Southern Miss and a regular season end in Gainesville, the Noles looked to be in pretty good shape.
That didn’t happen as consecutive losses to Jim Kelly and the Miami Hurricanes, the debacle mentioned above against Southern Miss and then a 35-3 loss at hated rival Florida, the season came to a brutal end at 6-5.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, this was the last FSU team to not go to a bowl. In a conversation with Rick Stockstill several years back he said that the team was suffering from many injuries leading into November and as Coach Bowden was in just his 6th season at the helm, they lacked in depth!
That leads me to the final analysis, is there any way this FSU team at 4-4 can win 2 of their last 4 to finish with 6 wins. It will be a daunting task as they travel to NC State this Saturday and then to #4 (CFP) ranked Notre Dame. The last 2 games are at home to #22 (CFP) Boston College and the regular season-ending the game against in-state rival Florida, which is ranked #11 (CFP). It doesn’t look promising!
Besides the bowl streak, the Seminoles have not had a losing season since the legendary Bobby Bowden’s 1st season, in 1976, when they finished 5-6.
Back to today’s game with Clemson in the lead 45-0 things did not look promising for the Seminoles. Their worst shutout loss ever was a 49-0 defeat at Florida in the final game of the season. That loss concluded the worst season in FSU history as they ended at 0-11!
With over 7 minutes left in the 3rd and FSU trailing 45-0 the stats showed Clemson with 380 yards to just over 100 for the Seminoles. The Noles were their own worst enemy as they had fumbled 4 times, losing 1 (could have been worse) and an interception. Those 2 turnovers cost them 10 points. On top of that, they had 11 penalties for 80 yards! They ended with 16 penalties for 134 yards.
On the next drive, FSU did move the ball, but the drive was stalled by penalties. They settled for a 35 yard FG to avoid the shutout.
Now we were wondering if this was the only score the Seminoles could muster? Thoughts went back to the opening season loss to Virginia Tech, where they were held to just a FG. When was the last time FSU had 2 home games in a season where they only scored a FG? The thought was for naught as backup QB James Blackman managed to hit freshman WR Keyshawn Helton for a 73-yard score late in the game. Helton is the nephew of FSU legend and Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks.
With the embarrassing 59-10 final, the 49 point loss equals the largest margin of defeat by a Seminole team. It also eclipsed the largest home loss ever, in that previous 44 point margin against Southern Miss in 1981!
I thought that the loss at Louisville 2 years ago, when Lamar Jackson and crew ran all over the Seminoles was bad, but this one takes the cake.
I guess payback is hell, as I’m sure Clemson has been reminded of the streak when FSU ran off 11 consecutive wins against the Tigers.