Florida State (2-2, 0-1 ACC), playing without injured starting quarterback E.J. Manuel, made things interesting late behind freshman backup Clint Trickett, whose 9-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Shaw brought the Seminoles within one possession with 7:21 left.
After Clemson (4-0, 1-0 ACC) turned the ball over on downs deep in Florida State territory, the Seminoles took over possession with 2:49 left with a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown.
Florida State picked up one first down, but its drive stalled out at its own 38-yard line when Trickett was sacked for a 10-yard loss on fourth-and-9.
Tajh Boyd finished with 344 passing yards and three touchdowns for the Tigers, who improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2007 and defeated Florida State at home for the fifth straight time.
The home team has won nine of the last 10 in this series, and the Seminoles, who lost 23-13 last week against top-ranked Oklahoma, haven’t won at Clemson since 2001.
Clemson took a 14-3 lead in the first quarter and led 21-10 at the half before the Seminoles stormed back behind Trickett, who finished with 336 yards and three touchdowns.
The Tigers, led by Sammy Watkins’ game-high 141 receiving yards, outgained Florida State 455-365. Watkins’ 62-yard touchdown reception with 13:06 left gave Clemson a 35-23 lead.
Manuel, whose status was day-to-day leading up to the game, suffered a shoulder injury last week in the loss against Oklahoma.