Clemson, S.C. – The Florida State Seminoles and the Clemson Tigers turned a noon kickoff into a primetime worthy event. The atmosphere in “Death Valley” was electric to say the least. Backed by the aid of a notoriously uproarious home crowd. Sophomore quarterback Cade Klubnik threw for 283 yards and Clemson ran for 146 more, but the Tigers’ upset bid fell short in overtime against No. 3 Florida State, 31-24, at Memorial Stadium. The Seminoles scored on the second play of overtime and held Clemson on the ensuing possession to seal the win.
Clemson (2-2, 0-2 ACC) piled up 429 yards of offense and held No. 3 Florida State (4-0, 2-0 ACC) to just 22 rushing yards and 311 total yards. The Seminoles had less than 30 yards of total offense in the first quarter. Clemson also recorded 25 first downs to Florida State’s 16.
“We come here with that atmosphere and had adversity over the course of the game, all things you expect,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “The end of this game, it was really special. The things I was most proud of, I told our players, was they put their heart on display.”
Klubnik completed 25-of-38 passes for 283 yards and one touchdown. Phil Mafah led Clemson in rushing, averaging 6.9 yards per carry and totaling 69 yards, 46 of which came on one play. Standout Freshman Tyler Brown recorded a career-high 84 receiving yards to lead Clemson. Brown made momentum building plays for Clemson’s offense all afternoon. On defense, Clemson limited Florida State to just 22 yards rushing on 20 carries, forced four three-and-outs and registered five tackles for a loss, including two sacks.
Clemson opened the scoring on its second possession, driving 79 yards in 15 plays, including a critical fourth-and-one conversion by Mafah. Kicker Jonathan Weitz capped the drive with a 30-yard field goal on his first career field goal attempt less than a week after he came out of retirement to rejoin the team.
Clemson’s defense then produced its second straight stop with Jeremiah Trotter Jr. wrapping up Jordan Travis for a seven-yard loss. On the third play of Clemson’s ensuing drive, a 28-yard pass over the middle to Tyler Brown put Clemson inside the 10-yard line and set up Klubnik to find the end zone on a one-yard quarterback sneak with 11:33 left in the first half for a 10-0 lead.
Florida State scored its first touchdown of the day on a seven-yard touchdown pass to cut the score to 10-7 with 5:10 left to play in the first half. Clemson responded with a touchdown drive of its own, as Klubnik found tight end Jake Briningstool down the field for a 33-yard completion and then connected with Will Shipley for a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Travis Jordan capped off a quick 1:50 drive with a two-yard rushing touchdown for Florida State to make the score 17-14 at the half. The Seminoles tied the game at 17 with a 48-yard field goal on the opening possession of the second half.
Klubnik led Clemson on a 77-yard scoring drive in the third quarter with Shipley punching the ball one yard into the end zone to give Clemson a 24-17 lead with 3:32 left in the frame. Florida State tied the game after Klubnik was hit by Kalen DeLoach, who then recovered a Klubnik fumble and returned it 56 yards to tie the game, 24-24, with 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Late in the fourth quarter, Clemson’s defense came up with a critical stop at Florida State’s own seven-yard line as Xavier Thomas tackled Travis for the sack on third down. With good field positioning and 6:56 left on the clock, Klubnik and company took Clemson 43 yards down the field but were unable to come away with points following a missed 30-yard field goal attempt. The Tigers’ defense forced a Florida State turnover on downs on the ensuing possession to force overtime.
“We played our butt off,” Klubnik said. “We’ve just got to learn how to finish.”
On Florida State’s second play of the opening possession of overtime, Travis Jordan connected with Keon Coleman for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Clemson went 4 and out on their overtime possession. That sealed the 31-24 victory for Florida State.
Florida State has a week off, then starts a three-game homestand with Virginia Tech on Oct. 7.
Clemson travels to Syracuse on Saturday.