Clemson-Florida St. Preview

BY foxsports • September 16, 2014

(AP) - Clemson has not forgotten the debacle that took place against Florida State on its home turf last season.

The teams meet again Saturday night - this time in Tallahassee - and the top-ranked Seminoles will be without Jameis Winston for all 60 minutes.

Two days after announcing it would bench Winston for a half following the Heisman Trophy winner's decision to shout a lascivious comment at the student union that may have derived from an internet meme, Florida State upped the punishment to a full game late Friday night.

"Based upon the results of our continuing investigation of Tuesday's incident involving Jameis Winston, we have decided to not play him for the entire game against Clemson on Saturday night," interim Florida State president Garnett S. Stokes and athletic director Stan Wilcox said in a joint statement.

There had been criticism that the original punishment for Winston's latest embarrassing off-field incident was too light.

Jimbo Fisher was set to go with Sean Maguire in the first half, but now it looks like the sophomore will be the man under center for both. He's thrown just 26 passes with the Seminoles and was not a highly touted recruit. Maguire completed 3 of 5 passes for 28 yards after entering the Citadel game in the third quarter with a 34-0 lead two weeks ago. He played in nine games in 2013 and threw for 116 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Winston passed for three touchdowns and ran for a score in last season's meeting with Clemson.

The Tigers were ranked No. 3 in the nation and the No. 5 Seminoles went to Death Valley and handed Clemson its worst home loss since the series began in 1970.

Florida State used the 51-14 drubbing as a launching pad to a national championship and the Tigers were humiliated in front of a national television audience.

''We've tried to remind these guys that we did get embarrassed out here, make no mistake about it,'' Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said. ''Yes, we've definitely talked about it.''

Both teams are in different positions for the rematch.

Florida State was the preseason No. 1, and has held on to the top ranking. However, things haven't been the same this year. The 2013 team set the FBS record for points scored and defeated teams by an ACC-record 51.6 points per game. The Seminoles are 2-0, but haven't proved themselves the same unstoppable force.

''It was definitely a turning point in a game that propelled us,'' Seminoles tackle Cam Erving said. ''We knew we were good, but the thing about it was we had to go out and continue to do the little things we did to have success.

''That's what we want to do now. Take those same habits that we took from last year and just apply it to the game this year.''

Clemson (1-1) was in the title hunt before the lopsided loss with a Heisman candidate quarterback in Tajh Boyd and a receiver, Sammy Watkins, who became the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL draft. The Tigers went on to defeat Ohio State in the Orange Bowl, but the loss kept them out of the ACC title game.

They started this season ranked No. 16 and fell to No. 23 after a 45-21 loss to No. 13 Georgia in the season opener.

''Just from what they did to us last year, that was an embarrassment,'' Clemson safety Jayron Kearse said. ''Just looking through media, that's all they talk about is how they beat us 51-14 and things like that.

''That's old, that's behind us. We're just ready to go out and show the world what we can do (on) Saturday.''

The game was a defining moment for both teams last year and could be again in 2014.

Florida State has not been the juggernaut it was, but the Seminoles also built up steam last year. The offensive line features five seniors and there's plenty of NFL talent on both sides of the ball.

''You have to let us have our own identity,'' Florida State receiver Rashad Greene said. ''The result may be the same, but we may not beat teams by 30 or 40 like we were last year. But we're winning and getting better and playing good football is the most important thing.

''People can't compare us to that team. That was definitely a dominant team and nothing had been seen like that in years in college football, period.''

Florida State has outscored its two opponents 74-43 after beating overmatched Citadel 37-12 on Sept. 6 before its bye.

A Clemson victory against the No. 1 team in the country, on the road, would likely shoot the No. 22 Tigers up the rankings even with Winston sitting the whole game. They have seven starters back on defense, including All-American defensive end Vic Beasley. There are new faces at quarterback - Cole Stoudt and Deshaun Watson - but the Tigers did lead Georgia 21-14 in the second quarter.

Clemson took out its frustrations Sept. 6, pounding South Carolina State 73-7.

Fisher said he knew the type of team he had after the Clemson victory last year.

''It's always good to be able to see yourself when you play at a very high level mentally and physically and emotionally, what you're capable of,'' Fisher said. ''It gives you supreme confidence because you knew the caliber of opponent and how good they were. ... If you can overcome that and focus and concentrate and do those kinds of things there, you're capable of doing them anywhere else in our schedule.''

Florida State hasn't had much trouble against Clemson in Tallahassee, winning 10 of 11 while outscoring the Tigers 425-167.

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