Dan Scott: Florida State - Clemson Prediction


by - Correspondent -
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Bobby and Tommy Bowden talking before last year's game.

OFFENSE

Clemson has to hope Woody Dantzler has a huge game. But several of his teammates need to do the same. If Dantzler's running ability is cut off, there can be no errant or dropped passes. Help from the tailback slot would be nice. Meanwhile, for all their perceived problems, the Seminoles seem to be getting it in gear. The running game, which has been explosive at times this season, now is getting help from redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Rix. After a sluggish beginning, Rix currently is ninth in the nation in pass efficiency and No. 20 in total offense (261 yards per game). Wide receiver Atrews Bell has a catch in 20 straight games.

ADVANTAGE: Florida State


DEFENSE

The Tigers desperately need something good to happen on this side of the ball early in the game. As usual, the defensive line's ability to pressure the quarterback will determine quite a bit about this game, but the entire front seven must be sharp in run defense. Clemson's secondary needs all the help it can get. The Seminoles secondary could use help, as well. Florida State is allowing 196 yards passing per game, and today will be without defensive back Gennarro Jackson, who is out with an abdominal strain. Still, these are the Seminoles, so expect a fast, active front seven to give Dantzler problems.

ADVANTAGE: Florida State


SPECIAL TEAMS

Aaron Hunt is kicking well. Wynn Kopp's punting average is up. The coverage teams have been solid, and Tony Lazzara is booming kickoffs again. This unit has been the most consistent group all season. Trouble is, Florida State is just as strong. Beitia is 9-10 on field goal attempts, his only miss coming from 42 yards against Virginia. His season-long is 42 yards in the same game. Gwaltney is averaging 41.5 yards per punt.

ADVANTAGE: Even


COACHING

Papa: 320 wins. Son: 38 wins, 0-2 vs. Papa.

ADVANTAGE: Florida State


History says this will be a close game, and who are we to dispute history? However, in the end Florida State's overall athletic talent - down as it may be for this season - will win out.


THE PICK: Florida State 31, Clemson 28

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