Clemson vs. Florida State: Players Essential to a Tigers' Upset

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IISeptember 22, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers looks on against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The No. 10 Clemson Tigers face a frighteningly difficult task as they try to upset the No. 4 Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee.

This game may very well decide the ACC championship as no other team in the conference looks capable of competing with either of these teams at this point in the season. 

But Clemson must prove that the ACC is a two-team race, and the conference does not consist of Florida State and everybody else.

Here are the players who must have impressive games for the Tigers to pull of an upset.


Sammy Watkins, WR

The Florida State defense is athletic and disciplined, but no team in the country can stop Sammy Watkins when he gets the ball in the open field.

Clemson’s offense is accustomed to putting up a high volume of points, but this is unlikely to be the case against the Seminoles. This battle between top-10 teams may hinge on a big play.

If there is a highlight from this contest, it will likely come from Watkins. He is one of the most explosive players in the nation, and caught 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

Watkins must be dyanmic and gain yardage in large chunks in order for the Tigers offense to be dangerous enough to get an upset victory.


Tajh Boyd, QB

Tajh Boyd has been friends with Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel since the two were in middle school, but the Clemson QB must not be kind to the Florida State defense.

Boyd has been a remarkably efficient passer this season, completing 73.3 percent of his passes for 747 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception.

With several talented players at the skill positions, Boyd will once again need to avoid mistakes and get the ball in the hands of his playmakers.

In an away game against one of the best teams in the nation, it will be all too easy for Boyd to get flustered. If the junior can remain poised and continue his fine season, Clemson will challenge Florida State for all four quarters.


Rashard Hall, S 

While Watkins will be responsible for making decisive plays on the offensive side of the ball, Hall will need to come up with a few spectacular moments on defense.

E.J. Manuel is prone to poor decisions at times, and if he makes a bad read during this ACC showdown, Hall must punish his mistake.

The senior safety must lead the Tigers secondary, which is seemingly outmatched against the high-powered Seminoles offense. While the defense certainly will allow Florida State to score, it must also create turnovers to stay in the game.

If Hall and Clemson can cause interceptions in this epic ACC showdown, the Tigers stand an excellent chance to shake up the national rankings.