Weekend Spotlight: Florida State at Clemson
No. 5 Florida State (5-0, 3-0 ACC) at No. 3 Clemson (6-0, 4-0 ACC)
Florida State leads the series 18-8 (Last meeting September 22, 2012: Florida State 49, Clemson 37)
The winner of the annual matchup between Florida State and Clemson has gone on to win the ACC Atlantic Division each of the last four years, and barring upsets, the trend is likely to continue in 2013. Florida State’s matchup at home against Miami in two weeks is the only remaining ranked conference matchup for either squad, meaning the winner this weekend will control their own destiny in the hunt for a divisional title and possibly a national championship. The home team has won the last six meetings between the rivals with Florida State outscoring Clemson by a combined two points since 2007.
Florida State QB Jameis Winston can take advice from Clemson QB Tajh Boyd about prospering as a first-year starting quarterback. As a sophomore in 2011, Boyd led Clemson to a win over No. 11 Florida State, passing for 344 yards and three touchdowns, completing a two-game stretch in which he passed for 730 yards and seven touchdowns in back-to-back wins over ranked opponents. Winston is only a freshman, but has excelled in his first five games, including a 386-yard, four-touchdown performance against then- ranked Maryland in his last start. Winston looks to lead Florida State to its first win in Death Valley since 2001 when Chris Rix started at QB for the Seminoles. The Seminoles’ defense has held its opponents to fewer than 14 points in four of five games to start the season, ranking third nationally in points allowed.
Clemson is no stranger to the spotlight as it hosts College GameDay and the Saturday night ABC crew for the second time this season. The Tigers defeated No. 5 Georgia, 38-35, in the season opener in a wild back-and-forth contest. WR Sammy Watkins has shined again this season, catching 36 passes for 582 yards and four touchdowns. The junior wide out had a breakout game in 2011 against Florida State, tallying 141 yards and two touchdowns. Clemson and Florida State both have high-powered offenses, ranking in the top 20 nationally in passing yards and points, but each has also held their opponents to less than 17 points per game. Home field advantage may give the Tigers an edge as they have not lost a home conference game since October 2, 2010 versus Miami.
Extra Point– Since going undefeated in 1999, Florida State has not started 6-0 despite opening the season 5-0 on four separate occasions.