Clemson vs. FSU Preview


by - Correspondent -
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Death Valley will roar to life Saturday night when the #1-ranked Florida State Seminoles invade Clemson to take on Woodrow Dantzler and the Tigers. In the first father vs. son coaching matchup in college football history, a win for Florida State coach Bobby Bowden will be the 300th of his storied career. Tiger coach Tommy Bowden aims to derail his father’s hopes for a second national championship and put Clemson on track for the ACC title.


QUARTERBACKS- While it is highly unlikely that Clemson’s Woodrow Dantzler will toast the Seminoles like he did Maryland, the sophomore quarterback’s confidence has to be sky-high after his record-setting performance in College Park. Dantzler will undoubtedly continue to become more lethal as he gains experience, but he will be going up against a lightening- quick Florida State defense. Florida State’s Chris Weinke has been hot as of late, but if pressured, his lack of mobility could be a factor.

Advantage: Even


RUNNING BACKS- Despite only averaging 15 carries per game, Florida State tailback Travis Minor is a dangerous weapon in the Seminole arsenal. Minor averages nearly five-yards per attempt and 77-yards per game and has the ability to break loose for big gains. Travis Zachery continues to improve for Tigers on a game to game basis, racking up over 100-yards in two of Clemson’s last three games. Saturday’s contest against Seminole defense will show exactly how far the Clemson running game has come since being stymied at Virginia Tech.

Advantage: Florida State


CLEMSON RECEIVERS VS. THE FLORIDA STATE SECONDARY- If Florida State has had a weak link in its first seven games, it has been the play of the Seminole defensive backs. Florida State’s pass defense is ranked seventh in the ACC, giving up 228-yards per game. Budding superstar Rod Gardner and the steady duo of Mal Lawyer and Brian Wofford need to take advantage of this small chink in the Seminole armor if the Tigers are to pull off the upset.

Advantage: Clemson


FLORIDA STATE RECEIVERS VS. THE CLEMSON SECONDARY- Even without Peter Warrick and Laveraneus Coles, the Florida State decimated receiving corps should not be taken lightly. Robert Dugans is the team’s second leading receiver behind Warrick, and Seminole backups Robert Morgan, Germaine Stringer, and Atrews Bell are probable starters at most Division-One schools. The Clemson Secondary came back strong against Maryland after a rough outing at NC State, giving up a mere 148-yards through the air. Regardless, the Tiger’s #1-ranked ACC pass defense will have take their play to another level in order to turn back Florida State.

Advantage: Clemson (If Warrick plays, advantage goes to Florida State).


CLEMSON OFFENSIVE LINE VS. FLORIDA STATE DEFENSIVE LINE- Dantzler makes the Clemson offensive line’s job a whole lot easier with his ability to roll out of the pocket and scramble. The Clemson coaching staff also should be credited with helping compensate for the line’s lack of size by utilizing their quickness and athleticism. As a result, the Tiger running game has improved significantly while Dantzler has received adequate protection in the last three games. Led by defensive tackle Corey Simon, the Seminoles have the speed to offset Clemson’s athleticism up front. It will be critical for Clemson to establish some semblance of a running attack against the more talented Florida State defense.

Advantage: Florida State


FLORIDA STATE OFFENSIVE LINE VS. CLEMSON DEFENSIVE LINE- Considering that Maryland and N.C. State dominated the Clemson defensive front in its past two games, Florida State’s league-best offensive line could pose serious problems for the Tigers in the trenches. Perhaps the one factor in favor of the Tiger front four is that Florida State doesn’t pound the ball up the middle, something Clemson has struggled to stop against power-running teams like Virginia Tech, NC State, and Maryland. If the Tigers can pressure Weinke, then the defense has a chance. If they can’t, things might get ugly.

Advantage: Florida State


LINEBACKERS- The return of Clemson’s Altroy Bodrick against Maryland was huge for the Tigers. Bodrick finished the game with ten tackles and provided much-needed strength and aggressiveness at the position. Regardless, the Clemson linebackers missed their fair share of tackles and were consistently out of position against the Terrapins. A repeat of such fundamental lapses against the Seminoles could be devastating to the Tigers on Saturday night. Florida State’s linebackers are quick and athletic, with Tommy Polley and Brian Allen leading the group with a combined 107 tackles in seven games.

Advantage: Florida State


SPECIAL TEAMS- While the Tiger place kickers haven’t seen much action in recent weeks, the Clemson special teams have been solid. Ryan Romano had a strong outing against Maryland and Clemson’s punt and kick coverage was superb, particularly in containing Terrapin game-breaker Lewis Sanders. Florida State boasts perhaps the nation’s best kicker in Sebastian Janikowski, who enters Saturday’s game 17-21 on field goals and already has impressive 81 points on the season.

Advantage: Florida State


COACHING- The chip off the old block theory should be played out on Saturday as Bobby squares off against Tommy. There appears to be a gene shared among males in the Bowden family that encourages wide-open offenses and trick plays. Defense will be the key, however, as it appears that this matchup has the potential to be an offensive slugfest. While Mickey Andrews’ Seminole defenders are formidable, they’ve had a penchant for allowing big plays thus far. Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring’s crew has struggled to control the line of scrimmage while continually shown an inability to hold on to ballcarriers. Interestingly enough, Clemson matches up better against Florida State’s offense than they did with Virginia Tech, another top-five team. While they haven’t shown they can stop the run consistently, Clemson’s pass defense has the ability to hang with the Seminoles. Points will be scored, but the team whose defense forces a few big turnovers and comes up with the critical stops will likely win the game. Like most Clemson-Florida State games in Death Valley, this one will be closer than most people think. Bobby Bowden will likely get win #300, but to rule the Tigers out would not be wise.

Advantage: Even


PREDICTION- Florida State – 42 Clemson- 35





More on Clemson vs. Florida St


THE GAME: The first-ever meeting of father and son head coaches in NCAA Division I history takes
place Saturday night at Clemson's "Death Valley" in a nationally televised affair on ESPN ... in
addition, Florida State's Bobby Bowden is one win shy of becoming only the seventh coach in NCAA
history to reach the 300 career win plateau ... since Clemson's 34-23 win in 1989, the Seminoles
have won seven in a row and lead the series 10-2 ... FSU is 5-0 in Memorial Stadium.


LAST YEAR: Chris Weinke completed 18 of 35 passes for 302 yards and four TDs and the sixth-ranked
Seminoles defense limited Clemson to 129 total yards en route to a 48-0 win in Tallahassee.


THE COACHES: Bobby Bowden is 226-53-4 in 24 years at FSU and 299-85-4 in 33 seasons overall ...
Tommy Bowden is 3-3 in his first year at Clemson and 21-7 in three years overall.


GAME NOTES: In addition to the Bowden's, two of the nation's hottest quarterbacks - Florida
State's Chris Weinke and Clemson's Woodrow Dantzler - will face off Saturday night in "Death
Valley" ... Weinke has thrown for over 300 yards in each of his last two games and in his last
three games has thrown for 976 yards and nine TDs; has thrown for 200 yards or more and at least
one TD pass in 16 of his 17 career starts ... in only his second start of the season, Dantzler
totaled a school-record 435 yards of total offense (183 rush, 252 pass) in the Tigers' 42-30
victory over Maryland ... in his two starts, Dantzler is averaging 268.0 yards passing and 361.0
yards in total offense ... Weinke is sixth nationally in passing efficiency (150.4) and Dantzler,
if he were eligible, would be 21st (137.3) ... a pair of Travis' head up the team's ground games
- FSU's Travis Minor is fourth in the ACC in rushing (77.1) while Clemson's Travis Zachery is a
half a yard behind in fifth (76.6) ... Zachery has rushed for 306 yards and six TDs in his last
three games ... the two teams are averaging a combined 71.2 pass attempts per game in 1999 -
Florida State (36.4) and Clemson (34.8).


FSU off (NCAA rank) CU def

40.1 . . . . . . . . . . . .(4). . Points. . . . . (51). . . . . .23.8

445.6. . . . . . . . . . . (13).Total Yards. . . . (54). . . . . 355.0

140.9. . . . . . . . . . . (63). Rushing . . . . . (71). . . . . 158.5

304.7. . . . . . . . . . . (17). Passing . . . . . (24). . . . .*107.8

CU off FSU def

26.3 . . . . . . . . . . . (58). . Points. . . . . (15). . . . . .16.7

395.0. . . . . . . . . . . (42).Total Yards. . . . (23). . . . . 308.3

139.0. . . . . . . . . . . (65). Rushing . . . . . .(9). . . . . .80.3

256.0. . . . . . . . . . . (27). Passing . . . . . (48). . . . .*115.4

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