Tigers Looking For ACC History Against Seminoles

by - Senior Writer -
The Tigers are the first team to beat Florida State three consecutive times.

CLEMSON -- The chaos of the coaching change is over, the bye week is past, and Clemson interim head coach Dabo Swinney has his first win as the head guy under his belt, so it seemed like a relief on Wednesday when he was actually able to discuss this week's opponent, the 24th-ranked Florida State Seminoles.

The Seminoles and Tigers square off on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Doak Campbell Stadium in a game regionally televised by ABC. The Tigers (4-4 overall, 2-3 ACC) have won three in a row and four of five overall against the Seminoles (6-2, 3-2), who lost a heartbreaker last week, 31-28 at Georgia Tech, when a late fumble cost them a go-ahead touchdown.

The Tigers were the first team to beat Florida State three consecutive times when they opened last season with a 24-18, Labor Day win, and this year’s senior class will attempt to be the first in ACC history to beat Papa Bowden’s squad all four years.

However, Swinney said that going on the road against the Seminoles will be another tough test for a Clemson team that is trying to regroup from the last-minute losses and inconsistency that have plagued the Tigers this season.

“Big game this week, they are all big, but this is a great opportunity for our team to go
on the road again,” Swinney said. “It is another really good football team. It’s a real privilege to go on the field and shake Bobby Bowden’s hand, but it will be very unusual and under awkward circumstances.

“He is a man that I have a tremendous amount of respect for, I have watched him my whole life. We are both Alabama guys, who were born in Birmingham. He has always been a real gentleman to me so I am looking forward to that.”

The Florida State defense, which has been hit-or-miss at times this season, shut out Gerogia Tech over the final 28:42 last week against the Jackets, and has allowed only two 100-yard rushers this season.

“Defensively, they are very good, and not hard to figure out,” Swinney said. “They just come at you. We have to man up to get these guys. They are good for a reason and have been good for quite some time. (Defensive coordinator) Mickey Andrews is one of the best in the business. It will be a huge challenge to execute, if we make the mistakes we made last week it will be hard to overcome these guys.

“They have a lot of team speed and will be able to match our athleticism and talent. Up front they are what they are, athletic. Everette Brown is one of the best we have played against all year. I think he leads the league in tackles for loss and top three in sacks, so it will be a big challenge. Their linebackers can run, and those secondary guys it seems like they have been there forever. They will be able to match us talent-wise, skill-wise, and depth-wise.”

The Florida State offense, which has had its struggles at quarterback all season, has seemingly found a groove in recent weeks and will also present a challenge for the Clemson defense.

“They have always been good on defense and struggled offensively, but now they are
playing much better on offense, “Swinney said. (Offensive coordinator) Jimbo Fisher has done a great job. The quarterback (Christian Ponder) is making plays for them. He is the third-leading rushing quarterback in the conference even with splitting some time.

“The big task for us on defense will be containing Ponder. They have some outstanding skill outside that will challenge us on the perimeter and their running back Smith is having a great year. We will have our hands full, but I am pleased with the team.”

Clemson Injury Report for Florida State Game

Jamie Cumbie, DT, broken wrist, out for season

Barry Humphries, OG, torn ACL, out for season

Florida State Injury Report

OUT: Will Furlong (foot), Mister Alexander (knee), Richard Goodman (knee), Toshmon Stevens (calf tear)

DOUBTFUL: Justin Mincey (knee)

QUESTIONABLE: Maurice Harris (ankle), Michael Ray Garvin (head)

PROBABLE: Terrance Parks (foot)

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