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Moore delivers the knockout punch in Clemson's 35-30 win over FSU


  by - Senior Writer - Saturday, September 24, 2011 9:11 PM
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CLEMSON – Offensive coordinator Chad Morris said that Saturday’s game was like a heavyweight bout, with both fighters trading punches until the end.

If that’s the case, then Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Fr. Wide Receiver
#7 6-1, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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and the Clemson offense delivered the body blows while Rennie MooreRennie Moore
RS Sr. Defensive Tackle
#94 6-3, 265
Saint Marys, GA

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delivered the knockout punch.

Moore sacked Florida St. quarterback Clint Trickett on a critical fourth down play with 1:37 remaining and Watkins continued the amazing start to his career by catching eight passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns, leading No. 21 Clemson to a heart-stopping 35-30 victory over No. 11 Florida St. in Death Valley Saturday afternoon.

Moore, who came out with a shoulder injury in the game, said he wasn’t going to let an injury keep him out of the game.

”A muscle kind of tore in my shoulder,” Moore said. “It’s nothing big. I wasn’t leaving that game for nothing. I sucked it up, put a brace on it and kept playing.”

Clemson failed to convert on fourth-and-one in Seminole territory with 2:49 remaining in the game, giving Florida St. one last shot, but Moore’s sack of Trickett sealed the win for the Tigers (4-0 overall, 1-0 ACC), who are 4-0 for the first time since 2007, and just the sixth time since 1971. The Seminoles (2-2, 0-1), have not won in Death Valley since 2001.

“This was a great win. I’m so proud of our guys,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “They continue to show heart. We’re 4-0. That’s where we want to be. Our guys have embraced this tough schedule and really stepped up. Florida St. is a good football team. They have talented players, and they were the Atlantic Division champions until someone knocked them off and we knocked them off today.

“We still have a lot of work to do. We had to overcome a lot of mistakes today. At Clemson, you’re expected to win. This is what you want. We have yet to play our best game and we’re far from satisfied. We made enough mistakes for three games today, and now we have to take this show on the road. I’m so proud of our guys. They refuse to listen to negativity. They believe.”

Florida St. head coach Jimbo Fisher said Clemson’s offense kept his defense off balance.

“Clemson did a great job of keeping us off balance,” Fisher said. “They got to the edges, and they were able to run it enough inside to keep us off balance. The big thing was that they hit their big plays. They got the one-on-one matchups and beat our corners. They did a great job on offense.”

Trickett started in place of starter E.J. Manuel, who suffered a shoulder injury against Oklahoma last week, and he promptly led FSU on a scoring drive that was capped by a 32-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins for a 3-0 Seminole lead.

Clemson answered on the ensuing possession, marching down the field methodically, and Boyd hit Watkins on a crossing route that turned into a 24-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead. On Clemson’s next possession, the Noles forced a punt near midfield, but Florida St. ran into punter Dawson ZimmermanDawson Zimmerman
Sr. Punter / Kicker
#96 6-2, 205
Lawrenceville, GA

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to give the Tigers new life.

One play later, Boyd hit Nuk Hopkins on a 54-yard pass that put the Tigers inside the Seminole five yard line, and Boyd ended the drive with a one-yard plunge that put Clemson up 14-3.

Trickett and the Noles answered that with a big drive of their own, Trickett hitting Rodney Smith streaking down the middle of the field for a 57-yard touchdown, and the Seminoles trailed Clemson 14-10 at the end of the first quarter.


Clemson again drove down the field, marching 79 yards in nine plays, with Dwayne AllenDwayne Allen
RS Jr. Tight End
#83 6-3, 255
Fayetteville, NC

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catching a 12-yard pass from Boyd and flying into the end zone for a 21-10 Tiger lead early in the second quarter. On FSU’s next possession, Trickett threw a pass that was intercepted by Tiger linebacker Quandon ChristianQuandon Christian
RS So. Linebacker
#34 6-2, 220
Lake View, SC

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, but Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
RS So. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 200
Greenville, SC

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missed a 35-yard field goal attempt and the lead stayed at 11.

The Tigers came out with a quick first down to start the second half, but on the third play from scrimmage Boyd scrambled out of pressure in the pocket and he stumbled. As he was going down, it appeared he tried to throw the ball out of bounds, but the ball instead went straight in the air and FSU defensive end Bjoern Werner intercepted it and ran it 25 yards for the touchdown.

Replays appeared to show Boyd’s knee had hit the ground, but the ruling on the field was said to be confirmed after replays.

Instead of folding, however, the Tiger defense forced an FSU punt and the Tigers did what good teams are supposed to do – answer with a score. The Tigers drove down the field, aided by FSU penalties, and scored on a one-yard plunge by Ellington to make it 28-17 Clemson with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter.
Florida then went on a nine-play drive that culminated in a touchdown, and a long pass was once again the culprit. Trickett hit Rashad Greene over the top for a 30-yard touchdown pass, but the Noles’ attempt at a two-point conversion was no good and Clemson led 28-23 early in the fourth quarter.

Watkins then showed why he is considered one of the top receivers in the nation despite his status as a freshman, hauling in a 62-yard pass from Boyd that electrified the Death Valley and saw Swinney sprint much of the way with his talented receiver.

Watkins said he called the play on the sideline.

“I most definitely know I’m going to catch the ball,” Watkins said. “On that third-and-six, I told the coaches to call the play because I was so confident that we could get it.”

The Noles answered yet again, however, with Trickett engineering a drive that ended with a nine-yard pass to Kenny Shaw, and Clemson led 35-30 with 7:21 remaining on the game clock. The Tigers drove down to the Florida St. 23-yard line, taking almost five minutes off the game clock, but Ellington was stopped short and the Seminoles took over, setting up Moore’s sack of Trickett.

Swinney said he was proud of how his team has matured over the past four weeks.

“Sammy Watkins is a guy we’ve watched grow up through four games,” Swinney said. “He’s hard to handle. That 62-yard touchdown he scored was just a well-executed play. I’m very proud of our defense. We tried to put the nail in the coffin when we went for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter, but I have confidence in our defense. To win on defense is awesome. Florida State was only 3-of-10 on third down, but two of those were huge plays. We have got to improve. We overcame a lot of adversity and it was an awesome day here. I can’t thank our fans enough, again. It was so loud in Death Valley today and it’s hard for teams to come in here and get a win.”



Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Florida State....... 10  0  7 13  - 30       Record:
Clemson............. 14  7  7  7  - 35       Record:



Scoring Summary:
1st 10:23 FS - HOPKINS,D. 32 yd field goal, 9-67 4:37, FS 3 - CU 0
    07:47 CU - Sammy Watkins 24 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 7-80 2:36, FS 3 - CU 7
    01:54 CU - Tajh Boyd 1 yd run (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 8-77 3:35, FS 3 - CU 14
    00:14 FS - SMITH,R. 57 yd pass from TRICKETT,C. (HOPKINS,D. kick), 5-71 1:34, FS 10 - CU 14
2nd 11:31 CU - Dwayne Allen 12 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 9-79 3:37, FS 10 - CU 21
3rd 13:40 FS - WERNER,B. 25 yd interception return (HOPKINS,D. kick), , FS 17 - CU 21
    03:03 CU - Andre Ellington 1 yd run (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 11-70 5:08, FS 17 - CU 28
4th 14:55 FS - GREENE,R. 30 yd pass from TRICKETT,C. (TRICKETT,C. pass failed), 7-80 2:52, FS 23 - CU 28
    13:06 CU - Sammy Watkins 62 yd pass from Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro kick), 6-80 1:49, FS 23 - CU 35
    07:21 FS - SHAW,K. 9 yd pass from TRICKETT,C. (HOPKINS,D. kick), 4-78 1:20, FS 30 - CU 35



                                     FS       CU
FIRST DOWNS...................       19       26
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............    15-29   49-111
PASSING YDS (NET).............      336      344
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  38-24-1  37-23-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   53-365   86-455
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      0-0      0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............      0-0     2-29
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........     3-89     1-21
Interception Returns-Yards....     1-25      1-4
Punts (Number-Avg)............   5-42.8   3-36.3
Fumbles-Lost..................      2-0      1-0
Penalties-Yards...............   11-124     5-50
Possession Time...............    24:30    35:30
Third-Down Conversions........  3 of 10  9 of 17
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 1   0 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      2-2      3-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     2-14     2-18


RUSHING: Florida State-THOMPSON,C. 11-36; TRICKETT,C. 4-minus 7.
Clemson-Andre Ellington 23-71; Tajh Boyd 15-31; Sammy Watkins 3-13; Roderick
McDowell 2-6; Mike Bellamy 2-minus 1; TEAM 4-minus 9.

PASSING: Florida State-TRICKETT,C. 24-38-1-336. Clemson-Tajh Boyd
23-37-1-344.

RECEIVING: Florida State-GREENE,R. 8-98; GREEN,C. 7-77; SMITH,R. 4-118;
O'LEARY,N. 3-23; SHAW,K. 2-20. Clemson-Sammy Watkins 8-141; DeAndre Hopkins
5-78; Dwayne Allen 4-67; Andre Ellington 2-7; Martavis Bryant 1-33; Jaron Brown
1-13; Adam Humphries 1-6; Brandon Thomas 1-minus 1.

INTERCEPTIONS: Florida State-WERNER,B. 1-25. Clemson-Quandon Christian
1-4.

FUMBLES: Florida State-JOYNER,L. 1-0; TRICKETT,C. 1-0. Clemson-Tajh Boyd
1-0.

Stadium: Memorial Stadium      Attendance: 82000
Kickoff time: 3:36 PM   End of Game: 7:07 PM   Total elapsed time: 3:31
Officials: Referee: Jeff Flanagan; Umpire: Danny Worrell; Linesman: M. Fitzgerald;
Line judge: Richard Misner; Back judge: Virgil Valdez; Field judge: Harry Tyson;
Side judge: Watts Key;
Temperature: 83 deg    Wind: Calm      Weather: Sunny

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