Clemson-Florida State Preview

Clemson-Florida State Preview

Credit: AP

Clemson defensive end Andre Branch (40) and tight end Brandon Ford (80) celebrate their 23-3 win over Virginia Tech during an NCAA college football game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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by Associated Press

WCNC.com

Posted on September 20, 2012 at 2:04 PM

No. 10 Clemson (3-0, 0-0 ACC) at No. 4 Florida State (3-0, 1-0), 8 p.m.  (ABC)    

Line: Florida State 14.    

Series Record: Florida State leads 17-8.  

WHAT'S AT STAKE    

Quite likely, the Atlantic Division title in the Atlantic Coast Conference where it appears Florida State and defending ACC king Clemson are the two powers. Both teams are explosive offensively and Florida State features the nation's top defensive team that smothered Wake Forest 52-0 last Saturday. The Seminoles allowed the Demon Deacons 126 total yards and forced 13 punts. Clemson comes in averaging nearly 40 points a game, but its defense has been suspect. 

KEY MATCHUP    

Florida State's pass rush against Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, who shredded the Seminoles a year ago in a 35-30 Tiger victory. Boyd passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns in that game and ran for another score and was sacked twice. Florida State defensive ends Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine have combined for 10 sacks this season despite retiring early in three runaway wins.   

PLAYERS TO WATCH    

Florida State:  QB EJ Manuel didn't play in last year's game at Clemson and is off to a solid start despite having played only six quarters. He has completed 71.2 percent of his passes this season for 525 yards and six TDs in limited duty. 

Clemson: WR/KR Sammy Watkins, an All American as a freshman whose speed makes him a threat on every play. The former prep star from Fort Myers, Fla., was suspended for the first two games of the season for an offseason drug arrest, but came back with a bang in last week's 41-7 rout of Furman. On his third touch, Watkins raced 58 yards for a touchdown and finished the game with 119 all-purpose yards.  

FACTS AND FIGURES    

Florida State has won 10 of its last 11 games after last year's three-game losing streak, giving up an average of 8.8 points without allowing more than 19 points in any of those games ... Clemson's defense gave up an average of 36.6 points in its final eight games of the 2011, but just 17.7 so far this season ...   Clemson RB Andre Ellington is the active leading rusher in the ACC with 2,683 yards and 29 TDs ... Florida State K Dustin Hopkins is 35 points shy of the ACC and school record of 393 ... Clemson was also ranked 10th and the Seminoles fourth when they met in 2000 ... Florida State won 54-7.
 

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