Clemson at Florida State

No. 3 Clemson rallies for 37-34 win over No. 12 Florida St.

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Dabo Swinney has mastered winning close games during his tenure at Clemson. Saturday's victory over Florida State might be the sweetest of all.

The third-ranked Tigers rallied to beat the No. 12 Seminoles 37-34 and won for the first time in 10 years at Doak Campbell Stadium.

It is the fifth win by seven points or fewer this season for Clemson (8-0, 5-0 ACC) and gives it a 16-2 record in nine seasons under Swinney when winning by less than a touchdown.

''I'm glad to finally walk into this room and be happy. It's been a long time coming,'' Swinney said. ''We had a couple of lulls, but when we needed to make plays we got them.''

The win extends Clemson's regular season winning streak to 22 games and gives it consecutive victories over Florida State (5-3, 2-3) for the first time since winning three in a row from 2005-07.

The win also likely assures the Tigers of being in the top four when the first College Football Playoff rankings are released on Tuesday. Clemson is trying to make the playoff for the second straight season after losing to Alabama in last year's national championship game.

For the second straight year, Deshaun Watson played a large role in the win as he had 430 yards of total offense.

The junior completed 27 of 43 passes for 378 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. His 34-yard pass to Jordan Leggett and 2-point conversion with 2:06 remaining gave Clemson the lead. Watson also had 52 yards rushing on 17 carries, and Leggett had 122 yards on five receptions.

''It was just a great play call. We've seen it all game and called it at the right time,'' said Watson of the TD to Leggett. ''It's a special win. It's hard to win here against these guys.''

It is the second straight game Watson has had over 400 yards of offense against Florida State - he had 404 last year in a 23-13 victory. He is also the first quarterback to beat Florida State in consecutive seasons since Oklahoma's Landry Jones in 2010-11.

Wayne Gallman led Clemson's rushing attack with 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns .

Florida State was able to drive into Clemson territory with under a minute left but could only get to the Tigers' 34. The Seminoles self-destructed due to penalties and Deondre Francois (17 of 35 for 169 yards with a touchdown and interception) was sacked on the final two plays.

FSU fell short despite Dalvin Cook's career-high four touchdowns. The junior had 136 of his 169 yards rushing in the second half and had two touchdown runs of 40-plus yards.

''Dalvin had another great game. I've seen him play a lot of good ones. He had space and he outran angles,'' Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. ''They're going to throw haymakers, we're going to throw haymakers. We battled back but unfortunately we came up short.''

Cook, who leads Power 5 backs in rushing, has gone over 1,000 yards three straight seasons and needs 192 yards break Warrick Dunn's school career record of 3,959 yards.

''They were giving us what we wanted all game,'' Cook said. ''We tried to establish the passing game early and the running game opened up in the second half.''


Clemson: With wins over Louisville and Florida State, the Tigers have a firm grip on the Atlantic Division, but Swinney isn't claiming victory just yet. He said after the game that ''we've got two hands on the steering wheel, but we didn't win it.''

Florida State: The Seminoles were penalized 13 times for 111 yards. One of those calls was a chop block on Freddie Stevenson on what would have been a long Cook run deep into Clemson territory during the fourth quarter. Fisher was not pleased with that call or a targeting penalty that led to the ejection of Tre Marshall. ''I will tell you what, you hold coaches accountable, you hold players accountable, hold the damn officials accountable,'' Fisher said.


Clemson will most likely remain ranked third and will be in the top four when the first College Football Playoff rankings are released on Tuesday. Florida State will fall but it might not be far after rallying but falling short.


Clemson: The Tigers return home to face Syracuse.

Florida State: The Seminoles travel to North Carolina State.


More AP college football:

Follow Joe Reedy on Twitter at

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Recap Video

Related Video

May 24, 2017
ACC Strength of Schedule Rankings (1:07)
Clemson #3  (8-0) «14331737
Florida State #12  (5-3)01414634
Players of the Game

D. Watson
Att 43
Comp 27
Yds 378
TD 2

D. Cook
Rush 19
Yds 169
Avg 8.9
TD 4
Scoring Summary
CLEMWayne Gallman 1 yd run (Greg Huegel kick)
CLEMHunter Renfrow 4 yd pass from Deshaun Watson (Greg Huegel kick)
FSUDalvin Cook 4 yd run (Ricky Aguayo kick)
CLEMGreg Huegel 23 yd FG
FSUNyqwan Murray 5 yd pass from Deondre Francois (Ricky Aguayo kick)
CLEMGreg Huegel 34 yd FG
FSUDalvin Cook 43 yd run (Ricky Aguayo kick)
FSUDalvin Cook 70 yd run (Ricky Aguayo kick)
CLEMWayne Gallman 2 yd run (failed 2pt pass)
CLEMGreg Huegel 46 yd FG
FSUDalvin Cook 8 yd run (failed 2pt pass)
CLEMJordan Leggett 34 yd pass from Deshaun Watson (Mike Williams 2pt pass from Deshaun Watson)
Team Stats
First Downs2523
Third Down Efficiency7-174-12
Fourth Down Efficiency2-20-1
Plays-Net Yards81-51163-449
Passing Yds378286
Kick Return Yds2293
Punt Return Yds-80
Time of Poss.33:226:58
Individual Stats
CLEM: Wayne Gallman 20-82, Deshaun Watson 17-52, Team 1--1
FSU: Dalvin Cook 19-169, Freddie Stevenson 2-41, Deondre Francois 7--47
CLEM: Deshaun Watson 27-43-378-2
FSU: Deondre Francois 17-35-286-1
CLEM: Mike Williams 7-70, Jordan Leggett 5-122, Hunter Renfrow 5-62, Artavis Scott 4-33, Deon Cain 2-69, Ray-Ray McCloud 2-13, Trevion Thompson 1-7, Wayne Gallman 1-2
FSU: Nyqwan Murray 6-96, Kermit Whitfield 4-70, Travis Rudolph 3-63, Dalvin Cook 2-15, Auden Tate 1-23, Mavin Saunders 1-19
Clemson1st Atlantic Coast Atlantic7-114-1
Florida State3rd Atlantic Coast Atlantic5-310-3

CBSSports Shop

Top 25 Games
VT 39 Final
NAVY 45 Final
USF 52
MICH 32 Final
PSU 62 Final
PUR 24
LOU 32 Final
UVA 25
WVU 20 Final
NW 20 Final
BAYL 34 Final
UT 35
WASH 31 Final
FLA 24 Final
UGA 10
KAN 3 Final
NEB 17 Final
BSU 28 Final
WYO 30
TENN 21 Final
SC 24
AUB 40 Final
NMST 10 Final