Game 8 Preview: Clemson Tigers vs. Florida State Seminoles

Samuel Profeta, Correspondent 

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., ( – This week is a big week for the No. 12 ranked Florida State Seminoles as they face a tough match against currently ranked No. 3, the Clemson Tigers. The Seminoles will attempt to end the Tiger’s hopes of reaching the playoffs and in return create a huge leap for themselves in the polls. This is arguably one of the most anticipated games on the schedule for Coach Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles as this is their ACC division rival and not to mention that Clemson is standing strong at the top of the division with a 7-0 record.

When asked about facing Clemson’s talented defense, this is what Coach Fisher had to say:

“What I’m saying, there’s no lay-ups and things you can just — you’ll have a chance to get, and they make you execute and play tight coverage in the secondary.”

“They’re very multiple, extremely multiple in what they do. Do lots of things, lots of coverage’s, lots of different — a multiplicity of things which they do, and as I say, sometimes it will get them in trouble, but most of the time they execute the heck out of it. They do a great job, and they’ve got good front people and they blitz you and give you different looks. I mean, they do a real sound job and got good players and play hard.”

Another big factor in this game is Clemson’s Heisman trophy candidate, junior quarterback, Deshaun Watson. Watson is having an outstanding season, having thrown the ball for 1950 yards, 20 touchdowns, and all at a 63% completion rate. When asked about playing against Watson this week, this is what Coach Fisher responded:

“Oh, he’s as good as anybody. I mean, you watch the consistency he plays with, he throws the deep ball, the short ball, can run. But to me, his competitiveness, too. He’s a great competitor and always finds ways to make the plays, know what I’m saying? He needs to be one of those guys. That’s just a characteristic that you either have it or you don’t, know what I’m saying? And he does it. He’s a very, very special player, he really is.”

One major key that has been holding the Seminoles’ defense back during this season is the loss of talented sophomore safety Derwin James to a torn meniscus that he suffered from during week two in the home opener against Charleston Southern. The injury led to his absence of 5-7 weeks. Coach Fisher had this to say when asked about James and if there was a possibility of his return against Clemson:

“It’s on a timetable. There’s no way to judge this thing. They’re just going to do it on the time table of history because you can’t MRI it and say — they know he’s much further along than most people are, but it’s never been — if you chance it, then your chancing on tearing everything — so it’s just a time thing. I think he is healing very fast and very quickly, but there’s a certain amount of time they’re going to hold because there’s no prep for it and there’s no way to judge and look at MRI or see that it’s totally that way.”

Although James has been progressing at a fast rate there is still no timetable set for his return. With safety Nate Andrews injured as well, sophomore A.J. Westbrook and junior Ermon Lane will fill their places. Lane who was at receiver the last three seasons, is making his mark and drawing major attention to himself during his newly found success on defense.

The history of this division rivalry goes back to 1970. Since the first meeting, it is the Seminoles who lead the series by a large margin of 20-9. Though FSU leads, it was Clemson who claimed victory the last time these teams met, when Clemson defeated the Seminoles 23-13. Both programs have quite an impressive history with a combined total of 30 ACC championships and have both represented the ACC in the postseason consistently since 2011. This next game in Tallahassee should not be one to miss as Clemson is still in the race for the postseason, but a loss to the Seminoles will knock them out of the race. But with a win, Florida State will most likely see a significant jump into the top ten having just beaten the third ranked Tigers.

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