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FSU ’18, The Bottom Line: Chopped

Clemson 59 Florida State 10

 “This has to be rock-bottom for the Florida State program.” – Bob Wischusen

Those were the announcers words starting the 4th quarter of the worst home loss in Florida State football history. Then he said that FSU has the toughest remaining schedule in the nation, so actually, maybe it’s not quite rock bottom. We’ll see.

This is Clemson’s 4th straight victory over FSU, and really, the 5th straight year we have out-classed them on the field.  It was a complete and total beatdown, but in order to beat FSU in Tallahassee by 49 points, you need help and boy did we get it. FSU made a shocking amount of mistakes that they seemed to get away with at first and then an onslaught began where we scored 52 points in 30 minutes.

We had one stupid mistake last week when Garrett Williams got a false start penalty on the goalline. Dabo chewed him out to the point where they couldn’t get the next play in on time. This past week, FSU made so many mistakes, it made me cringe.

1Q: Brought the ball out on the opening KO, Block in the back on the KO, Have to call timeout to set the PR team, the snap over DF’s head for a loss of 23, Unsportsmanlike Conduct on Cam Akers, Fielding the punt off the bounce in traffic.

2Q: Roughing the kicker on a missed FG giving us a first down that led to a TD, illegal formation when 3 WR standing beside each other didn’t realize none of them was on the LOS, early snap by the C in HUNH, the targeting of Trevor Lawrence and ejection of the S, WR stopped running on the fade. 8 total 1st half penalties

3Q: Fielding the rugby punt off the bounce and turning the ball over. Illegal Formation again…this time on the 5 yard line going in. Personal Foul on the 2 yard line going in for throwing a punch which got their best WR kicked out of the game, WR covered up the TE making him an ineligible receiver downfield, a 15 yard punt.

4Q: Another hold on the kickoff. A false start on a 3rd and 1. Personal foul with #27 getting ejected.


Trevor Lawrence is getting better and better every week. The staff is trusting him with the RPOs and when he is making decisions and throws like he made against FSU, Clemson is very hard to stop. The staff mentioned that TL changed protection 8 times against NCS. He missed 1 and I diagrammed it in the film review because it put ETN on the DE and gave up a sack. This ability is very important because it’s TL’s ability to protect himself based on what he’s able to see pre-snap. The C and Ts can make the adjustments, but TL can see the 2nd and 3rd level better than them.

Something we haven’t seen this year was when TL saw the blitz coming and checked to a crosser. A DT got a hand on it, but we have needed that in the arsenal since A&M. These type of improvements by him and signs of increased trust by the staff are going to pay dividends. I’m not saying Lawrence is perfect on the decision-making though. He can get better. For example, they showed him a CB blitz on an RPO IZ/BS and he gave it to ETN instead of throwing it to the uncovered WR.  

The one issue everybody can see is that he has had trouble with overthrowing the deep ball, especially to Higgins. Tee can out-athlete most DBs, so it behooves TL to miss short and give Tee a chance to be Tee like he did against A&M.

The slow start was more about poor execution than play calling this time. However, we needed to challenge the FSU defense horizontally with the run/JS/BS somehow. They’re simply not going to buy all those JS fakes if we don’t give it to him sometimes. This is the one game where we truly needed one or two bubble screens at the beginning to make them think about it. I don’t understand why it’s every 3 plays some games, and not all the next.

  • Hunter Renfrow passed Terry Smith for 8th on the Clemson All Time receptions list this week with 163.
  • Travis Etienne tied Terry Allen for 8th on the Clemson All Time Rushing TD list this week with 28. He passed Cliff Austin and Woody Dantzler.
  • Which 9WR would you like to crush you today?  All three 9WRs had big plays in the game again this week. 
  • In the 2014 game in Tallahassee, we had 7 trips to the Redzone and came away with 17 points. In this game we also had 7 trips to the Redzone and scored 48 points.
  • We showed the wildcat with Derion Kendrick at QB. We ran a Counter Option Keeper for a loss of 6 and a QB Power for 2.
  • One of the better comments from Tomahawk Nation: Can we trade for Chase Brice?
  • The #3 OL featured Blake Vinson playing RG in the game next to Pollard at RT.
  • How about the speed shown by Amari Rodgers? Great speed to pull away from FSU’s 4 and 5 star DBs.
  • Something interesting in the game for all of us is when Lyn-J Dixon handled the nation’s leading sack man, Burns, 1 on 1 on that rollout T.J. Chase scored on. If he’s going to do that, we might be able to get our 2nd best RB with the ball in his hands more PT.
  • I don’t know what’s going on with Seth Penner, but he is the recipient of a lot of silliness when he runs off the field. This week, Wilkins grabbed the water bottle and squirted him down with it.


The defense did what the defense has done all year (sans A&M) and that is obliterate the opposition offense. There’s really not a whole lot of analysis for that other than this is what it looks like we you pound a team up front. Everything else falls apart.

We have a talent level issue at Safety and that is not going away; however, based on the eye test and the numbers, Clemson has the best defense in college football at this time.

  • Clelin Ferrell has now passed Brentson Buckner and Bryant McNeal for 7th on the Clemson All Time Sack list with 22.5.
  • Nyles Pinckney is playing better than he has in his career as of late. This is important since he might be a starter for us next year.
  • Is A.J. Terrell better than Trayvon Mullen now? We have seen offenses target the wide side with Simmons and Terrell (as well as Fields) over and over in the first 6 games. The past 2 games, Mullen is being thrown at again and he looks a little rusty. He has not shown to be the dominant force he was at the end of last season. He gave up a couple catches in the game on what I thought were push offs, but still, he doesn’t seem to have it dialed in.
  • Albert Huggins had a dominant game on defense today. Tremendous. However, I’m not giving him the game ball because most of his damage came in garbage time.

Special Teams

Spiers with another “Spiers Special” with that 14 yard punt in the 1Q. That let FSU start in our territory and get some hopefulness established. Spiers has one of those every week and we have yet to see Carson King this year.

Huegel is officially struggling this year. Like Trayvon Mullen, he’s rusty and hasn’t been needed as much this year. He was also roughed in the game and missed some time. He did return and seemed to be ok.

  • Greg Huegel passed Aaron Hunt for 2nd on the Clemson All Time Scoring list with 331 points. Chandler Catanzaro is #1 with 404 points.

Stat of the Game

FSU Rushing: Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers combined for 24 yards on 18 carries

Player Grades

This is the tally of all the points you saw at the end of each drive in the Film Review.

Offensive Game Ball

Trevor Lawrence

Blistered FSU with his arm and his decision making this week.

Defensive Game Ball

Kendall Joseph

He brought the energy and the hammer with him this week. He’s got 5 on it now.

  • 2018 Offensive Game Balls: Amari Rodgers (FU), Kelly Bryant (A&M), Travis Etienne (GS, GT), Gage Cervenka (SU), Mitch Hyatt (WF), Trevor Lawrence (NCS, FSU)
  • 2018 Defensive Game Balls: Christian Wilkins (FU), Clelin Ferrell (A&M, GS, WF), J.D. Davis (GT), Tre Lamar (SU), Isaiah Simmons (NCS), Kendall Joseph (FSU)

2015-2018 Game Ball Tally

  • 10-Timer’s Club: Deshaun Watson 13
  • 5-Timer’s Club: Dorian O’Daniel 6, Clelin Ferrell 6, Ben Boulware 5, Christian Wilkins 5, Kelly Bryant 5, Kendall Joseph 5

  • Travis Etienne 4,Wayne Gallman 3, Hunter Renfrow 3, Shaq Lawson 2, B.J. Goodson 2, Ray Ray McCloud 2, Jay Guillermo 2, Scott Pagano 2, Cordrea Tankersley 2, Mike Williams 2, Austin Bryant 2, J.D. Davis 2, Tre Lamar 2, Mitch Hyatt 2, Trevor Lawrence 2, Artavis Scott 1, Charone Peake 1, Mackenzie Alexander 1, Kevin Dodd 1, Dexter Lawrence 1, Ryan Carter 1, Jordan Leggett 1, Nick Schuessler 1, Carlos Watkins 1, Taylor Hearn 1, Tyrone Crowder 1, Justin Falcinelli 1, Trayvon Mullen 1, Tee Higgins 1, Deon Cain 1, Amari Rodgers 1, Gage Cervenka 1,  Isaiah Simmons 1

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