Clemson 56, Florida State 10
What Happened: Clemson needed a quarter to get going. The scoreless tie would quickly change as the Tigers ripped off 45 straight points on four Trevor Lawrence touchdown passes including third quarter strikes of 58 to 68 yards to Amari Rodgers. FSU finally broke the run with a Ricky Aquayo field goal, but the O didn’t get into the end zone until Keyshawn Helton came up with a 73-yard touchdown catch … down 59-3.
What Mattered: And there’s the Trevor Lawrence you wanted to see. The Noles were all over the Clemson running game, holding Travis Etienne to just 45 yards, but the passing attack bombed away. Lawrence got the time to work, and he made FSU pay by completing 20-of-37 passes for 314 yards and four scores.
– And there’s the Clemson defensive front you wanted to see. FSU head coach Willie Taggart had remarked that his team would be ready after facing its own great defensive front in practice every day.
The Tigers came up with five sacks and 14 tackles for loss, holding the FSU ground game to -21 rushing yards.
– FSU melted down in several ways. The defense was bad, the O line worse, and the 16 penalties for 134 yards were disastrous. Deondre Francois did his best, but he wasn’t given a lick of help from the line. He threw for 247 yards, but most of them came on that one big scoring throw late.
Thoughts: Not that it necessarily matters, but Clemson has picked a great time to look the part of the No. 2 team in college football. The College Football Playoff rankings come out Tuesday, and this group looked and played every bit the part of something truly special for the third week in a row.
– Best of all for the Tigers, Trevor Lawrence is looking more and more comfortable. The running game needs to be a bit better – Travis Etienne didn’t have much room to move – Lawrence is bringing the big plays now. With a defense that can clean up the mess if needed, of course you let him keep bombing away.
– Clemson is awesome. This might have been embarrassing for FSU, but it was one loss against a national championship caliber team. The offensive line still needs a whole bunch of work, but with road games at NC State and Notre Dame up next – and Boston College and Florida to finish things off – the Noles have to get over this in a big, big hurry.