Penalties Cost Noles Shot At An Upset

Alec Chessari, Correspondent

Tallahassee, FLA. (


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Penalties played a major factor in Florida State’s 37-34 loss to third-ranked Clemson on Saturday in Doak Campbell Stadium. Mental errors cost the Seminoles 111 yards in penalties.

FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher was not happy with the officiating of the game. He was arguing with the referee after a chop block called on FSU fullback Freddie Stevenson that he did not agree with. He even suggested that the officials needed to be monitored closer.

“It’s ridiculous. It is not a chop,” Fisher said. “I’m going to tell you what, you hold the coaches accountable, the players accountable, hold the damn officials accountable.”

Early in the fourth quarter, the Seminoles (5-3, 2-3 ACC) held a 28-26 lead before Dalvin Cook sped off for a 60-yard run to put the Seminoles deep in Clemson territory. It was a momentum boost for the Seminoles until the flag against Stevenson for an Illegal block negated the run with 11:19 remaining.

The call shifted the energy back to Clemson (8-0, 5-0 ACC), who took the lead on a 46-yard field goal with 5:25 to go. The Noles’ next score wouldn’t come until the 3:23 mark when Cook plunged into the Endzone from eight yards out to retake the lead and bring the score to 34-29.

Tigers’ quarterback Deshaun Watson led the team down the field, finding Jordan Legget on a 34-yard touchdown pass to give them a 37-34 lead. The drive only took a minute and 17 seconds, leaving FSU 1:55 to try and score.

They drove the ball to the Clemson 34 yard line with 44 seconds to go. Back-to-back motion penalties were called on the offensive line pushing them back to the 44-yard line. Fisher said mistakes derailed a promising drive.

“It was a good two-minute drive, we had field goal position: 40 seconds and a timeout,” Fisher said. “We were in great shape and then we had two very costly motion penalties,” Fisher said.

FSU started their drive from their own 21-yard line. Deondre Francois moved the ball through the air and brought the Noles to Clemson’s 34-yard line. A false start on the offensive line pushed them back to the 39-yard line. Another false start on the line pushed them back to the Tiger 49-yard line and brought up third down and 20. Christian Wilkins and Ben Boulware then sacked Francois to end the game.

“We made some progress, but not enough,” Florida State offensive lineman Roderick Johnson said. “A sack is a sack, it’s on the O-line. The communication is good but we still have to put ourselves in the right position to make plays and block,” Johnson said.

Florida State’s next game will be a conference road game to North Carolina State, kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh North Carolina.


Notable Stats:


Deshaun Watson 27-43 378 yards 2 TD 2 INT

Wayne Gallman 21 carries 82 yards 2 TD

Jordan Leggett 5 catches 122 yards 1 TD

Florida State


Dalvin Cook 19 carries 179 yards 4 touchdowns

Freddie Stevenson 2 carries 41 yards

Deondre Francois 17-35 286 yards 1 touchdown 1 interception

Nyqwan Murray 6 receptions 96 yards 1 touchdown


Trey Marshall 11 tackles

Demarcus Walker 10 Tackles

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