Tigers pressured into 41-27 loss against Seminoles

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Dabo Swinney isn't finding it any easier to win without an effective offensive line than Tommy Bowden did.

Clemson lost at Florida State 41-27 Saturday, putting Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, on his 79th birthday, within one win of his arch- nemesis Joe Paterno. Swinney meanwhile is still 379 wins behind Bowden, but all the wiser after watching his offensive line Saturday.

"We just absolutely just got whipped on some match ups," said Swinney. "That’s really what it comes down to.”

Swinney was talking about an offensive line that has been affected by injuries all season. He has spent the last couple of weeks comparing his team to a car, but he likely knows that when it comes to getting his car in gear there's few coaches that can do anything without an effective offensive line.

Quarterback Cullen Harper was sacked six times and the Clemson running game netted just 79 yards Saturday.

"We've got to protect on offense," said a frustrated Swinney at the end of the first half to the television camera. "Nobody's blocking at left tackle. We've got to protect"

Swinney did his best to direct the ball away from the team's weakness with screens and downfield passes. Clemson scored on a 44-yard screen pass from Harper to C.J. Spiller on its first drive of the game. Harper finished with 240 yards passing, however, he completed just 19 passes and that wasn't enough to overcome the Seminoles.

Harper often found himself engulfed in a ferocious Seminole rush. After leading Clemson to a 10-3 lead, Harper found himself under pressure and threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by Neefy Moffit at the Clemson 18-yard line. Moffit dragged Spiller into the endzone to tie the game.

Harper threw his third touchdown pass of the first half falling backwards just before being laid out by the Seminole rush. He completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael Hunter midway through the second quarter to give Clemson a 17-13 lead.

By then, Florida State's offense started clicking as well. Florida State took a 20-17 lead on a 70-yard drive near the end of the first half. Then, on the first drive of the second half, FSU scored another touchdown to take a 27-17 lead.

Clemson's next drive was helped out by a roughing the punter penalty and a defensive holding penalty, but the Tigers could only manage a field goal.

"When you come to a place like this it’s all about momentum," said Swinney. "You’ve got to get some momentum and we didn’t do a good job of taking the momentum back."

The Seminoles scored on a 68-yard drive to go up 34-20 early in the fourth quarter. The Tigers pulled within 7 after a 2-yard run by Spiller with 3:04 left, but couldn't recover the on-side kick and FSU added a touchdown on a 41-yard touchdown run by Antone Smith.

"Seems like the game would never end," said Bowden "Well, you think you got it, now we got it, then you get a penalty or a fumble or an interception or something and then they’d score and now you’ve got to fight for your life again. But our offense responded to everyone of them. Anytime they got ahead of us, our offense responded."

And as it finally did end for Bowden the home crowd sang Happy Birthday to the elder statesman, who is locked in a battle with Paterno for the all-time wins lead. It was just another reminder for Swinney, 40-years his junior, just what he was up against Saturday.

Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
-----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
Clemson............. 10  7  3  7  - 27       Record: (4-5,2-4)
Florida State....... 10 10  7 14  - 41       Record: (7-2,4-2)

Scoring Summary:
1st 12:52 CU - Spiller, C 44 yd pass from Harper, C (Buchholz, M kick), 5-80 2:08, CU 7 - FS 0
    07:43 CU - Buchholz, M 41 yd field goal, 9-52 3:36, CU 10 - FS 0
    05:56 FS - Gano, G 52 yd field goal, 5-38 1:42, CU 10 - FS 3
    04:16 FS - Moffett, N 18 yd interception return (Gano, G kick), , CU 10 - FS 10
2nd 13:03 FS - Gano, G 37 yd field goal, 10-56 4:25, CU 10 - FS 13
    08:17 CU - Palmer, M 9 yd pass from Harper, C (Buchholz, M kick), 2-9 0:38, CU 17 - FS 13
    01:25 FS - Ponder, C 1 yd run (Gano, G kick), 10-70 3:50, CU 17 - FS 20
3rd 11:01 FS - Surrency, C. 14 yd pass from Ponder, C (Gano, G kick), 9-63 3:51, CU 17 - FS 27
    03:43 CU - Buchholz, M 20 yd field goal, 15-89 7:09, CU 20 - FS 27
4th 10:31 FS - Smith, A 1 yd run (Gano, G kick), 7-68 3:13, CU 20 - FS 34
    02:00 CU - Spiller, C 2 yd run (Buchholz, M kick), 11-97 3:04, CU 27 - FS 34
    01:49 FS - Smith, A 41 yd run (Gano, G kick), 1-41 0:09, CU 27 - FS 41

                                     CU       FS
FIRST DOWNS...................       22       22
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............    36-79   36-266
PASSING YDS (NET).............      237      153
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  35-20-1  27-16-1
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   71-316   63-419
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      0-0      0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............     1-10      4-5
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........     5-77    4-105
Interception Returns-Yards....      1-0     1-18
Punts (Number-Avg)............   6-41.0   3-41.3
Fumbles-Lost..................      2-1      1-1
Penalties-Yards...............     5-29     9-96
Possession Time...............    31:45    28:15
Third-Down Conversions........  2 of 15  5 of 10
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   2 of 3   0 of 0
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      3-3      4-5
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     2-15     6-49

RUSHING: Clemson-Spiller, C 13-66; Davis, J 14-48; Ford, J 2-1; Harper, C
7-minus 36. Florida State-Thomas, J. 11-94; Smith, A 8-57; Parker, P 2-49;
Ponder, C 10-30; Givens, L. 2-24; Sims, M 1-7; Richardson, D 1-7; Team 1-minus

PASSING: Clemson-Harper, C 19-33-1-240; Korn, W 1-2-0-minus 3. Florida
State-Ponder, C 16-27-1-153.

RECEIVING: Clemson-Kelly, A 5-49; Grisham, T 5-23; Ford, J 4-67; Spiller,
C 3-55; Palmer, M 2-16; Barry, D 1-27. Florida State-Parker, P 6-37; Easterling,
T 4-43; Surrency, C. 2-52; Owens, R 2-16; Givens, L. 1-3; Piurowski, C 1-2.

INTERCEPTIONS: Clemson-Conner, K 1-0. Florida State-Moffett, N 1-18.

FUMBLES: Clemson-Kelly, A 1-1; Harper, C 1-0. Florida State-Carter, T

Stadium: Doak Campbell         Attendance: 77013
Kickoff time: 3:37      End of Game: 7:15      Total elapsed time: 3:48
Officials: Referee: Brad Allen; Umpire: Jim Hyson; Linesman: Michael Kelley;
Line judge: Les Flora, Jr.; Back judge: Tommy Pace; Field judge: Billy Beckett;
Side judge: Jim Corpora; Scorer: Joe Rider;
Temperature: 72        Wind: NW 8mph   Weather: Clear skies, 22% hum

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