TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State’s defense came into Saturday night’s game against Clemson without having surrendered a score in three games to start the season.
That lasted less than 90 seconds against the Tigers, who scored on a 60-yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins on the opening drive of the game. The Seminoles had not given up a touchdown since December.
Clemson also is the first team to score more than 19 points on Florida State’s defense in 12 games. The Seminoles had held 11 consecutive teams to fewer than 20 points heading into Saturday night. Clemson scored 21 by halftime.
ESPN’s College GameDay was in Tallahassee to cover the game. It was the second time in two years the show has been hosted at Florida State and the 25th time overall that the Seminoles have played with GameDay in attendance.
Last season, the Seminoles lost to Oklahoma 23-13 with GameDay in town. Headed into Saturday night’s game, Florida State was 10-14 all time when GameDay was in town. Clemson was just 1-2.
Florida State struggled to get Clemson’s offense off the field on its first couple of possessions, and it wasn’t until Tank Carradine started making plays that Florida State’s defense stepped up.
Carradine, playing for injured senior defensive end Brandon Jenkins, posted back-to-back sacks on Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd to get the Clemson punt unit on the field.
Dustin Hopkins came into the game tied for second all-time with Sebastian Janikowski for field goals at Florida State.
The Groza Award semifinalist had two chances to pull ahead of Janikowski but missed both chances, including a field goal as time expired in the first half from the Clemson 20-yard line.
In the middle of the second quarter with the score tied, the Seminoles forced a Clemson punt that would have given them a chance to go ahead. Instead, sophomore wide receiver Rashad Greene muffed the fair catch, and Clemson took possession inside the Seminoles’ 30. Clemson scored a few plays later to go up 21-14.
With just over two minutes left in the second quarter, Clemson had a chance to take control of the game heading into the half. The Tigers faked a sweep play to wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who pulled up and tried to hit a wide-open Brandon Ford on a trick pass. The ball sailed just beyond Ford’s outstretched fingertips to bring up fourth down. Clemson ended up punting.
Florida State’s captains were Hopkins, senior fullback Lonnie Pryor and senior defensive tackle Everett Dawkins. Dawkins is a South Carolina native.