Tigers take hot hand into showdown with Seminoles

Clemson finally seemed to find its confidence during last week’s second-half comeback victory over Auburn.
Florida State’s might be a little dinged up after getting bullied in its own backyard by No. 1 Oklahoma last Saturday.

The No. 14 Seminoles suffered a 23-13 defeat to the top-ranked Sooners, while No. 22 Clemson rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit en route to a 38-24 victory over defending national champion.

This game marks the ACC opener for both teams in a series that’s been dominated by the home team. In the last nine years, the home team is 8-1. Florida State is 7-4 all-time at Clemson but has dropped four straight by an average of 15 points.

The Tigers (3-0) piled up 624 yards of total offense in their win over Auburn and now rank ninth in the country with 522 yards per game. The victory over Auburn was Clemson’s first since 1951, ending a streak of 14 losses.

This is the middle game of a stretch of three straight Top-20 opponents for the Tigers, who face No. 11 Virginia Tech next weekend. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has 911 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and just one interception for an efficiency rating of 173.8, which ranks ninth nationally.

For the second straight year, the Seminoles (2-1) had their national title chances ruined by an early-season loss to Oklahoma. Making matters worse, quarterback E.J. Manuel suffered a left shoulder injury, which could prevent him from playing on Saturday. Manuel has been inconsistent this year, throwing six touchdowns and four interceptions. If he’s unable to go, the Seminoles, whose offense ranks seventh in the ACC, will likely turn to redshirt freshman Clint Trickett.

Florida State hasn’t won at Clemson since 2001, when it defeated the Tigers 41-27. This meeting marks just the seventh time in the history of the series that both teams are ranked in the top 25, and the first time since 2000.

Clemson is seeking its first 4-0 start since 2007, when it climbed as high as No. 13 in the polls. That year, the Tigers opened the season with a victory over then-No. 21 Florida State.

TV: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN.  Line: Clemson -2.5

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