Clemson coaches, players surprised at attendance, not the final score in 59-10 win


by - Senior Writer -
Xavier Thomas reacts to a hit on FSU quarterback Deondre Francois (Photo by Melinda Myers, USAT)
Xavier Thomas reacts to a hit on FSU quarterback Deondre Francois (Photo by Melinda Myers, USAT)

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Clemson players and coaches weren't surprised at the point differential in the Tigers' 59-10 victory at Florida St. Saturday afternoon, but wide receiver Tee Higgins was surprised at the attendance.

Trevor Lawrence threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns as Clemson used a 28-point second quarter to spark a 59-10 victory at Doak. FSU’s 49-point margin of defeat is its worst at home and tied for its largest ever.

It all happened in front of an announced crowd of 68,403.

Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins said he expected more fans.

“This is my first time in this stadium, so this is great to get a win like this my first time here. We came down and handled our business well,” Higgins said. “It's Florida St. Everybody knows Florida St. has a reputation. What really shocked me is that the stadium wasn't filled. I always thought Florida St. filled the stadium. So that shocked me.”

Wide receiver Amari Rodgers had six catches for a game-high and career-high 156 yards and two scores, and he said the 59 points shouldn’t surprise anyone.

“They are a great program, but I know what our team has,” Rodgers said. “I knew if we came out here and do what we do, we could handle them like that. I am not surprised - that is our team. We have been executing like that the last three games, so I am not surprised at all.”

Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott agreed with Rodgers and said his players are accepting the challenge of being not just good, but great.

“I thought that the guys were going to accept the challenge. I thought they would be ready to play against a defense that stops the run and they have the No. 2 person in sacks,” Elliott said. “So, we wanted to establish the run to make them stay on us so we could have the play-action and get the ball down the field. I am really proud of our guys for owning the plan and executing it.

“Being a player, I've been on the other side of a game like this down here in Tallahassee. We talk about best is the standard and our guys want to do things that haven't been done. Our guys accept the challenge every week.”

FSU head coach Willie Taggart called the loss embarrassing for the once-proud program.

“Embarrassing. I was disappointed,” Taggart said. “We're going to find the guys that quit and we're going to find the guys that kept playing and make sure that we keep those guys in there. So there will be some changes come next week.

“First I'm since I've been here I felt like we had some guys that quit on our football team and that can't be tolerated. One thing you can't do, you can't quit. You quit, you don't play. So we've got to do a great job of making sure we've got the right guys and at every aspect of the game, offense, defense, special teams. Didn't play well at all and did all the things you can't do against a team like that. That's on me and our coaches and our players and everybody that's here and we've got to find a way to get that right.”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said it was a landmark day for the Tiger program.

“Unbelievable day. This is my 16th game versus the Noles, so I have an unbelievable amount of respect for this program,” Swinney said. “This is one of the greatest programs in college football history. I have been in a lot of really, really sad locker rooms coming down here, so this was a special day. I’m really proud of our guys; this is an awesome accomplishment for our seniors. This is something they really wanted to do. They just wanted to find a way to win the game and be that first ACC senior class to go 4-0 on these guys. They were able to accomplish that. I’m really proud of them for that. It’s an unbelievable moment.”

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