FSU vs. Clemson prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Seminoles and Tigers on Saturday in Tallahassee, FL.
FSU vs. Clemson Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
TV Broadcast: ABC
The Seminoles (5-2, 2-2 ACC) were off following their 17-6 home win over Wake Forest. Travis Rudolph had a career-high 13 receptions for 238 yards while the defense held the Demon Deacons without a touchdown. This hasn’t been the season a lot of college football observers expected, as the ‘Noles were blown out by Louisville and fell to UNC, but it can be salvaged a bit with a win over Clemson.
Meanwhile, the Tigers (7-0, 4-0) enjoyed a bye last week as well, so they had an extra week to prepare for this ACC Atlantic division matchup too. Even though the Tigers are unbeaten and the ‘Noles have two blemishes, this should be an entertaining conference tilt with a lot of CFP implications. Clemson was almost upset by NC State its last time out, so we’ll see how the Tigers bounce back.
Clemson came into last year’s meeting atop the first College Football Playoff rankings, and the Tigers added to their resume with a 23-13 victory over FSU. After giving up a 75-yard touchdown run to Dalvin Cook on the game’s second snap, the Tigers allowed just two field goals the rest of the way. Cook ran for 194 yards, but only 37 came in the second half.
What To Know About FSU
The Seminoles needed a big game from Rudolph against Wake, and he certainly delivered. It was the fourth-best receiving game in school history. The junior had been struggling, as he had been held to six catches for 80 yards in the past four games after recording 13 receptions for 179 yards and three touchdowns in the first two contests. However, it was an ugly game that featured a combined seven turnovers. FSU had four, so that type of effort will not get it done against Clemson, which has been dealing with giveaway issues even last year in its CFP run.
What to Know About Clemson
The Tigers gave up 397 yards and turned it over four times against the Wolfpack, including Deshaun Watson’s first-ever Pick Six. Just when it appeared that Clemson had put together all three phases and was a cohesive outfit, the team took a step back in the overtime win against NC State. Running back Wayne Gallman was knocked out early in that game, and Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney said last week that he expected the back to be ready to go. Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was a bit less certain on Monday, noting that Gallman is fine and that the staff is hopeful he can play. CJ Fuller would be Clemson’s starter if Gallman isn’t available.
Offense: Even. The Tigers are averaging 36.6 points per game, while the Seminoles are putting up 34.9 points per contest.
Defense: Clemson. The Tigers are giving up less than 300 yards per game.
Special Teams: Clemson. Seminoles kicker Ricky Aguayo has missed five field goals this year.
Coaching: Clemson. Jimbo Fisher has won a national championship in Tallahassee, but Swinney has his Tigers primed for a second College Football Playoff appearance.
Intangibles: FSU. Clemson is coming off of the near-upset against NC State, but this game is in Tallahassee, and the ‘Noles can play spoiler and possibly re-enter the CFP mix.
Matchup To Watch
Cook vs. Clemson defensive front
The FSU running back opened last year’s game with fireworks, recording a 75-yard scoring run on the game’s second snap to stun the Clemson crowd. He added a 36-yarder the next time he touched the ball. However, the Tigers defense clamped down and allowed just six points the rest of the way. Cook was also stopped on crucial third and fourth down runs in the fourth quarter with the Seminoles just a yard from a first down. So while Cook ran for 194 yards, only 37 came in the second half. And he was not a factor in the final quarter. That has to change for FSU to have any chance at an upset this week. Cook will also have to put behind him an uncharacteristic pair of fumbles that he had last week against Wake. If Cook is producing on the ground, that will open up the offense for star dual-threat quarterback Deondre Francois, who will be facing a nasty defense.
Spread: Clemson -2
Over/Under: No Line (as of post)
FSU vs. Clemson Prediction
Even though at times the Tigers have not looked like a College Football Playoff outfit each and every week, Swinney and Co. will be ready for what has turned into a top game annually in the ACC. Watson and Francois will make their share of plays, but the difference is the big-play ability of Clemson’s defense. Christian Wilkins, Carlos Watkins and that front will limit the effectiveness of Cook, who will have a quiet 100 yards. But a Francois interception late in the third will change the momentum and help give the Tigers a huge road win as they stay on course for a CFP berth.
FSU vs. Clemson Score Prediction: Clemson 37, FSU 27