Clemson vs Florida St Preview and Prediction


by - Correspondent -
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Fresh off an upset loss to Georgia Tech, the Clemson Tigers limp into Tallahassee
on Saturday to take on Florida State in a battle for the Atlantic Coast Conference
championship. Bowden Bowl hoopla aside, this is the first truly important late-season
ACC game in the last ten years.



QUARTERBACKS- Woodrow Dantzler's status will likely remain in question
up until game time as the Clemson quarterback struggles to recover from an ankle
injury. Should he be unable to go, red-shirt freshman Willie Simmons has proven
to be a capable backup, particularly in the passing game. For the Seminoles,
28 year-old Chris Weinke has lit up opposing defenses for nearly 3,000 yards
and 23 touchdowns in Florida State's first nine games. Unless the Tigers can
find a way to revamp their anemic pass rush, don't expect Weinke to slow down
Saturday night.

Advantage: Florida State



RUNNING BACKS- Senior Travis Minor leads the Seminole rushing attack
with a 73-yard per game average while fullback William McCray has plowed his
way to seven short-yardage touchdowns (McCray might not play against Clemson
due to a leg strain suffered in practice this week). The Clemson rushing game
starts with tailback Travis Zachery, one of the ACC's best. For the Tigers to
have a chance, Zachery will have to come through with a solid performance.

Advantage: Clemson



CLEMSON RECEIVERS VS. FLORIDA STATE SECONDARY- Florida State's secondary
is quick and experienced, allowing just over 200 yards passing per game. Not
unlike Clemson, the Seminoles play an aggressive brand of defense that can be
exploited for big plays. It will be critical for Rod Gardner and the Tiger receiving
corps to break loose for a few big gains in order to take pressure of the Clemson
rushing attack.

Advantage: Even



FLORIDA STATE RECEIVERS VS, CLEMSON SECONDARY- When junior receiver Robert
Morgan went down with a broken toe this Wednesday the Seminoles lost an exceptional
athlete and a legitimate deep threat. Regardless, Florida State is still loaded
with talented receivers such as Marvin Minnis, Anquan Bolden, and Atrews Bell.
This match-up couldn't come at a worse time for a Clemson secondary that's been
battered of late. A nickel package would certainly make sense against the nation's
#1 ranked passing offense; whether Reggie Herring feels that way remains to
be seen.

Advantage: Florida State



CLEMSON OFFENSIVE LINE VS. FLORIDA STATE DEFENSIVE LINE- Establishing
a rushing attack against Florida State hasn't been easy in 2000. The Seminoles
rank second nationally against the run, allowing only 66 yards per game and
a total of five rushing touchdowns. That fact in mind, Saturday's game will
provide the Clemson offensive line with easily their biggest challenge to date.


Advantage: Florida State



FLORIDA STATE OFFENSIVE LINE VS. CLEMSON DEFENSIVE LINE- This match-up
isn't hard to dissect: If the Clemson defensive line can't generate pressure
on Weinke then the Tigers will be toast. Judging from Clemson's recent performances,
things don't look good.

Advantage: Florida State



LINEBACKERS- Two of the nation's best linebackers will be on display
in Tallahassee in Clemson's Keith Adams and Florida State's Tommy Polley. Often
overlooked in Adams' shadow, Chad Carson has quietly become an exceptional inside
linebacker in his own right.

Advantage: Clemson



SPECIAL TEAMS- Enjoy good field goal kicking? Check out the North Carolina-
Pittsburgh game on ESPN2.

Advantage: Even



COACHING- Last season, almost everyone involved expected an offensive
slugfest in the first Bowden Bowl in Death Valley. What they got was a defensive
tug of war that went down to the final minute. Both coaching staffs know the
other's tendencies; both head coaches aren't afraid to take risks. As for talent,
Florida State clearly has the edge but the Tigers will be hungry. On paper,
the Seminoles win easily but, strange as it may seem, this game should turn
out to be another nail-biter. Advantage: Even



Florida State- 28 Clemson- 24

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