Clemson Vs Florida State : The Prediction

The Clemson Tigers finally get back to Death Valley after a couple of tough road games to host the Florida State Seminoles. Coach Dabo Swinney was on the radio yesterday and ended with a passionate plea to the fans, “Have Faith.”

The Seminoles bring a dangerous team into the Valley on Saturday. They started the season 0-4 but have now won 3 straight, albeit the last one was a glorified scrimmage against an outmanned UMass team. The Noles have scored 30+ points in the last 5 games.

QB Jordan Travis has led the Noles to their last three wins and looks to be the starter for the rest of the season. He is fast, shifty and has run for over 300 yards in the last three games. Don’t confuse Travis with Pitt QB Kenny Pickett. Compare Travis more to Syracuse QB Garrett Shrader — he can hurt you more with his legs than his arm.

Just like with Syracuse, the Noles have a strong backfield with Jashaun Corbin and Treshaun Ward. Corbin leads the team in rushing with 683 yards (7.8 ypc) with 5 touchdowns, including a long run of 89 yards. Ward has 419 yards (7.4 ypc) with 3 touchdowns, with a long run of 65. This team runs, runs, runs and the Tiger defense is going to have contain the run game.

Defensively, FSU gives up a lot of points and a lot of yards, and the Tigers need to take advantage of it. Set aside the practice game against UMass, the Noles are giving up 30+ points a game and almost 400 yards a game. They can be scored on but can the Tigers do something they haven’t shown they can score on anyone. The Tigers have yet to score more than 19 points in regulation this year.

Last week, the Tigers played a good 1st quarter, thwarting the high powered offense of Pitt but only scoring 7 points, despite having great field position every drive. This trend has got to improve. This game against FSU is a must win, make no bones about it.

The Tiger fan base is aching for a solid win. A victory against FSU would go a long way into the fanbase having their “faith” restored. They are going to have to do it without starting running back Kobe Pace. Pace was placed in Covid protocol yesterday and will miss the game. One can only wonder if Lyn-J Dixon made the right decision to transfer. In any case, the ball is now in the hands of two true freshmen, Will Shipley and Phil Mafah. The Tigers are also going to be without senior guard Matt Bockhorst for the rest of the season. In steps another freshman, Marcus Tate. Frank Ladson will not see the field again for the Tigers this year, and EJ Williams is not ready to return. A positive note is WR Joseph Ngata is ready to go and should take some of the pressure off Justyn Ross.

The “Mash Unit” is nothing like Clemson fans have ever had to endure. The coaches keep saying it’s only a matter of time before this offense finds its legs. Time is running out in 2021 and something needs to break soon. Is this the week the offense takes the pressure off the defense? Can OC Tony Elliott guide this offense out of its funk? Can he discover the terms “rollout” and “moving pocket?

Clemson is home, and is ready for the fan base to become THEIR 12th man. The Tigers have got to start finishing drives and not get stalled. This Clemson team has shown a tendency to lose focus this year at the wrong times. For the last 6 years, the Tigers have had “alpha male leaders” at QB. DJ Uiagalelei, it’s time for you to step forward, as young as you are, and take over this role.

Clemson will finally break the 20 point barrier for the 1st time in regulation and down the Noles 27-20. (For the record, I will never predict the Tigers to lose, I am an admitted Clemson homer)

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