Florida State vs. Clemson Football: Complete Game Preview

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Florida State vs. Clemson Football: Complete Game Preview
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Clemson senior quarterback Tajh Boyd badly wants a marquee victory over rival Florida State.

Last week’s results

No. 3 Clemson (6-0, 4-0 ACC) beat Boston College 24-14.

No. 5 Florida State (5-0, 3-0 ACC) was off; beat No. 25 Maryland 63-0 Oct. 5.

 

Who will emerge superior in the Tajh Boyd-Jameis Winston showdown?

OK, so Clemson senior quarterback Tajh Boyd and Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston aren’t directly competing against one another. But both are among the top five contenders for the Heisman Trophy, per HeismanPundit.com, and their meeting has been eagerly anticipated and discussed among ACC fans. Boyd was the 2012 ACC Player of the Year and was the preseason pick to repeat at the ACC Football Kickoff.

“Jameis, he’s not a freshman,” said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. “I know he's listed as that, but this guy has played some ballgames now, and he's been on the road a couple times. He's had big expectations at home, and he hasn't been overwhelmed with anything.”

Boyd agrees. “He plays older than he is,” Boyd said. “He's a redshirt freshman. His teammates back him. They support him. He handles himself in a more mature way when he steps out on the field.”

Boyd is the ACC’s leader in total offense, averaging 328.3 yards per game; Winston is second with 315.2 per game. Boyd leads the ACC in passing yardage with 297 yards per game; Winston is second at 288 per.

Winston leads the ACC in pass efficiency with a 213.9 rating; Boyd is second at 172.0. Winston has 17 touchdowns against two interceptions; Boyd has 15 scores against two interceptions.

Both are mobile quarterbacks. Boyd averages 31 yards rushing per game while Winston averages 28.

“It's just like our guy,” Swinney said of Winston. “I mean, it's like going up against Tajh Boyd. That's why you go recruit those kind of guys. It makes us all look like better coaches.”

 While the two quarterbacks won’t directly face off, it’s safe to say that the team with the more poised and successful signal-caller will feel much better about itself by evening’s end.

 

Is Florida State ready for its stiffest competition of 2013?

The Seminoles are 5-0 with three wins of 48-plus points. They’ve faced only one ranked foe so far, demolishing then-No. 25 Maryland 63-0. Clemson will be the Seminoles’ stiffest test of the season—No. 10 Miami and No. 22 Florida are the only other ranked teams remaining on their schedule.

Clemson owns a 38-35 win over then-No. 5 Georgia, the highest-ranked foe an ACC team has taken down through the first six weeks of the season. And it is worth noting that Florida State’s last win in Clemson came in 2001. The Tigers are riding a five-game win streak over FSU in Memorial Stadium.

FSU is ranked in the top three nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense, but it is safe to say we’ll know a lot more about how seriously to take their BCS Championship aspirations by late Saturday evening.

 

Should Clemson be receiving more respect?

The Tigers own a win over a healthy Georgia team. They were the overwhelming preseason choice to win the ACC championship, earning 95 votes as the preseason champs to Florida State’s 15. Yet the Seminoles are three-point favorites Saturday night per VegasInsider.com.

Clemson players were asked about the line this week, and junior defensive end Corey Crawford said “It adds fire to the fire.”

When asked if he was surprised his team was an underdog, Swinney was even-keeled and respectful.

“This is a toss‑up if you ask me,” he said. “This is a game that comes down to a few plays. This is just like the Clemson‑Georgia game at the start of the season. You've got two great teams that both want to win, that both have great aspirations, and in this particular case, heck, we're talking about trying to win a division. This is a key game to try to win that next goal for us, and that's the Atlantic Division championship.

“But as far as being a factor, whether we're an underdog or whatever, that has nothing to do with it.  We know they're a great team. We've got great respect for them.”

 

Time: 8:22 p.m. ET Saturday

Place: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.

TV: ABC

Radio: Clemson and Florida State radio networks (regional); Sports USA network (national)

Spread: Florida State -3 via vegasinsider.com

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