Florida State as well as Clemson come into this game with both teams having a bye week. The 5-2 (#12) Seminoles are hoping their home field will be favorable to them, with this match-up against the 7-0 (#3) tigers. If history can stay on their side, the Seminoles could prevail as Clemson has not won at Doak Campbell Stadium since the 2006 season. While this was supposed to be the ACC game of the year, it’s now the game to see if FSU can derail the Tigers path to the College Football Playoff. As expected this game turned into a back-and-forth duel between two Heisman contenders. However it was Clemson’s Deshaun Watson who prevailed ended up with the hard fought win on Saturday night.
All Watson did was account for 430 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. The nail in the coffin for the Seminoles was the 34-yard score to Jordan Leggett with 2:06 left in the game. That score proved to be the game-winner as the No. 3 Tigers escaped Doak Campbell Stadium with a 37-34 victory.
Due to self-destruction, FSU could not recover. The Seminoles moved very quickly to the Clemson 34 yard line but back to back false starts moved them out of potential field goal range. After 2 incompletions, QB Deondre Francois was sacked on 3rd and 4th down thus ending the Seminoles chance at the upset. While Clemson finished with 511 yards of total offense, they needed 81 plays to get there.(6.3 average) FSU finished with 449 net yards but only ran 63 plays.(7.1 average) Of note, on Clemson’s 6 sacks Francois had a negative 47 yards. Clemson had a -1.
While Watson’s effort was great, don’t forget about the outstanding effort from Florida State’s Dalvin Cook. He ran for 169 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.
The Miami native got the Seminoles on the board with a 4-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter and he gave them their first lead with a 43-yard scoring
run in the third. That made the score 21-20, and Cook extended it 28-20 when he took his next carry 70 yards to the end zone. In 2 plays with a total elapsed time of :20, he had TD runs of 43 and 70 yards. He capped it off by putting FSU back on top (albeit only briefly) with and 8 yard run with 3:23 left in the 4th.
Cook has now joined Warrick Dunn (1994-96) as the only Seminoles to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons.
While Cook had a fantastic game, it was a run that didn’t count that had Fisher fuming after the game. Clinging to a 28-26 lead after a Clemson touchdown
and a failed two-point attempt, Cook took his first-down carry down the right sideline for what appeared to be a gain of about 60 yards.
Instead, officials flagged fullback Freddie Stevenson for an illegal block that nullified the run and moved the Seminoles behind the chains.
Replays showed Stevenson colliding with a Clemson defender’s hip, but the play otherwise looked like a standard block.
“It was ridiculous,” Fisher said. “It was not a chop.”
Added Cook, “It was a legal block… that was a call you can’t make in games like that.”
In the aftermath of the play, officials issued an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to the FSU sideline, which moved the Seminoles back even farther.
So instead of a first down deep in Clemson territory, FSU instead faced first-and-25 from its own 10. Three plays later, the Seminoles were forced to punt.
“That was a huge call in the game,” Fisher said. “We still had chances in the game to win after that. But it is ridiculous.”
I don’t know the rule book by heart but if they do call that penalty, is it not supposed to be from the point of the foul? They marked it from
the previous line of scrimmage.
In my opinion (and I’ve had other in the media concur) are the officials leaning toward protecting some of these high ranking teams?
With all of the money on the line for the Power 5 conferences, it just seems like they are favoring certain teams to make sure they get into the play-off.
Just speculation (or ranting on my part) but it seems too many games have concluded with questionable calls from the game officials.
Jimbo Fisher Post-Game
On the chop block: “It was ridiculous. It was not a chop, it was not a chop. I will tell you what, you hold coaches accountable, you hold players accountable, hold
the damn officials accountable. It is garbage and then to call another penalty on the sideline is even more garbage. Its cowardly, gutless and wrong. They can
fine it or do whatever they want to do with it. That is a fact, look at the film. It is ridiculous that they do that. That was a huge call in the game. We still had
chances in the game to win after that, but it is ridiculous. The guy wasn’t even in position to make it, plus it was 10 yards down the field so the penalty should
have been marked from there not from the line of scrimmage. It was targeting on 12 when he got hit in the belly and knocked out. He got hit with the crown of
the helmet right in the chest. He gets killed in Miami and he gets killed here. Both of them. Bad, real bad.
On the Trey Marshall targeting penalty and ejection: “I didn’t think it was targeting. I still don’t. I don’t think he led. He hit him with the side of his helmet. I
don’t think he hit with his crown. They review that, but they don’t review Deondre (Francois) who is being exposed on a two-step deal and they won’t call
that. Whoever is in the booth is bad too.”
Do the penalties overshadow your performance? “No. They were critical calls in the game and Clemson won the game. I give them all of that. That is not
why we lost the game. It is just a shame that you could have changed and seen what happened if you called the game correctly. That is their job.”
“That game was a heavyweight fight. They’re going to throw haymakers, we’re going to throw haymakers,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We kept going
at each other. We had an opportunity to seal it back up or win it at the end and we didn’t get it done.” “(The defense) had their moments,” Fisher said.
“They really stopped them, and played well, played physical. Of course, Clemson came back and made some plays. Our guys played hard. They played
physical, played hard.”“Guys battled. They played hard, left their guts on the line,” Fisher said. “They played very hard, but we’ve got to play better.”
“Again, they’ve just got to (make) those two or three critical plays.”
From the players:
Dalvin Cook: “They were giving us what we wanted all game,” Cook said. “… We knew what they were going to do. They were going to stack the box and try to take the run away. We tried to establish the passing game early and I think we did that pretty good and the running game just opened up in the second half.”
Roderick Johnson: “When we gave up sacks, that’s mostly because we beat ourselves,” junior left tackle Johnson said. “…We’re still working on techniques and fundamentals and things like that, and still putting ourselves in place to get in front of defenders and block them.”
The ACC Players of the week release is below.