Clemson, SC- The Tigers, a one-point winner their last time out, made easy work scoring the first 42 points in a 45-14 victory over Florida State on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
Clemson rushed for 320 yards, with Travis Etienne recording a game-high 127 on the ground. Etienne also had a receiving touchdown on a shovel pass.
Heisman candidate quarterback Trevor Lawrence passed for 170 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception before leaving the contest early in the third quarter. Lawrence also rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown and looked poised throwing the ball down the field.
“Just proud of our team. A huge step in the right direction. That was a really talented football team that we just beat. A very talented team,” Swinney said. “I thought offensively they set the tone for the whole game today.”
The Tigers outgained the Seminoles 367-63 in the first half and 552-253 for the game. Isaiah Simmons led the charge for Clemson’s defense, finishing with a team-high eight tackles, two tackles for loss and a huge sack.
Quarterbacks James Blackman and Alex Hornibrook both threw first-half interceptions. Things got worst after the break as Blackman threw another pick that went for Derion Kendrick’s 38-yard return score.
The two combined for 150 yards on 17-of-35 passing, but also combined for three interceptions that the Tigers converted into 14 points. Hornibrook’s 64-yard touchdown pass to Terry midway through the third quarter put the Seminoles on the board.
Florida State Cam Akers struggles against the Tigers continued. He had gained just 47 total yards vs. Clemson the past two contests and ended with 34 yards on nine carries here.
FSU broke the shutout with Blackman’s 64-yard TD pass to Tamorrion Terry late in the third quarter.
“I told the guys this week we had to play at our best, but we didn’t,” Florida State coach Willie Taggart said. “Really disappointed.”
Justyn Ross caught a pair of touchdowns from Lawrence, while Amari Rodgers scored from 29 yards out on a reverse.
Florida State, meanwhile, still has a lot of work to do as they continue their journey back to national prominence.
“It was our best game for sure to this point, and just a huge win. It was good to see us look like a really competent team today,” Swinney said. “That’s five out of six games I think we’ve played pretty good, but today was our best day.”
Tamorrion Terry and Khalan Laborn each scored second-half touchdowns for FSU, which lost for the first time in three games. FSU (3-3, 2-2 ACC) must regain its composure quickly, as another road date against a ranked conference foe awaits them next week at No. 19 Wake Forest.
“Disappointing loss,” FSU head coach Willie Taggart said. “I thought we had a good week of practice, had a good game plan, and we didn’t play the way we wanted to do, the way thought we should and would play.
The Seminoles gained 253 yards of total offense (compared to 552 for Clemson), had 10 first downs (31), a 2-13 mark on third down and four turnovers.
FSU had previously gone three consecutive games without giving the ball away, their longest such streak in four years.
“We just didn’t make the plays,” Taggart said. “We didn’t execute. Turned the ball over. We can’t turn the ball over and expect to win.
Who: No. 2 Clemson (6-0, 4-0) at Louisville (3-2, 1-1)
When: Oct. 19, Noon
Where: Cardinal Stadium; Louisville, Kentucky