Clemson Football: Oppo Research – Florida State Seminoles

Clemson corner back Mario Goodrich (31) tackles Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis (13) during the fourth quarter Oct 30, 2021 in Clemson, South Carolina.Ncaa Football Florida State At Clemson
Clemson corner back Mario Goodrich (31) tackles Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis (13) during the fourth quarter Oct 30, 2021 in Clemson, South Carolina.Ncaa Football Florida State At Clemson /

The trap of Boston College never really came to fruition, and I am glad it didn’t.  A dominating performance for the Tigers (once the middle 8 came about) against BC.  This week is yet another challenge, as Clemson football will play their last ACC road game against Florida State in Tallahassee.  Should be a fun one.

I was worried about the start the Tigers had in Boston last weekend but never felt like the game was in doubt.  The defense was flying around and was good enough to hold their end of the bargain waiting for the offense to catch up.  And they did, mostly.

Moving on to Week 7, Florida State is the next opponent and Dabo Swinney said that this will be the best pair of linebackers Clemson will face thus far.  A slap in the face to NC State’s group, but here we are.

With all of that being said…

Here is your preview of the Florida State Seminoles of Tallahassee, Florida.

October 15. 4-2. Clemson -3.5 | Over/Under 51.0. 7:30 PM ET. ABC. 804. 6-0. 879

Head Coach Mike Norvell is in the middle of his 3rd season as the Head Coach of the Seminoles.  His record with the Noles is 12-15, a far cry from his 38-15 record at Memphis prior to his arrival in Tallahassee.  Norvell’s squad enters the game with the Tigers with a 4-2 record and 2-1 at Doak Campbell Stadium this season.  After two sub-par seasons (3-6; 5-7 records), he seemingly has his best squad at FSU yet.

Florida State is 4-2 on the season with wins against Duquesne (47-7), LSU (24-23), Louisville (35-31), and Boston College (44-14) and losses against Wake Forest (31-21) and NC State (19-17).  They currently are on a 2-game losing streak including one game at Doak Campbell Stadium (Wake Forest).


Offensive Coordinator Alex Atkins was promoted to Offensive Coordinator in the off-season and is in his first season as the head man of the offense.  Charlotte, Tulane, Georgia Southern, Chattanooga, are all previous stops for Atkins.  An offensive line coach by nature, he is adamant on building a good rushing attack and he has (at least) a three-headed monster at FSU currently.

Here is a look at the projected starters on Offense:

Quarterback – Jordan Travis – Jr. – 98-156-1407 yards; 9 TDs, 3 Ints

Running Back – Treshaun Ward*** – So. – 72 att. 503 yards 6.8 ypc; 3 TDs

Running Back – Trey Benson – So. – 47 att. 313 yards. 6.4 ypc; 3 TDs

Wide Receiver – Mycah Pittman – Jr. – 21 rec. 260 yards; 3 TDs

Wide Receiver – Ontaria Wilson – Sr. – 18 rec. 298 yards; 2 TDs

Wide Receiver – Johnny Wilson – So – 21 rec. 417 yards; 3 TDs

Tight End – Camren McDonald – Sr. – 8 rec. 151 yards

Left Tackle – Robert Scott Jr. – So

Left Guard – Dillan Gibbons – Sr.

Center – Maurice Smith – So.

Right Guard – D’Mitri Emmanuel – Sr.

Right Tackle – Jazston Turnetine – Sr.

***Ward is listed as probable, after hurting his arm last week and tweeting a photo in a hospital bed.***

Quarterback Jordan Travis may be the most improved player in the ACC and has started his redshirt Junior season solidly.  He has thrown for 1407 yards for an average of 234.5 yards per game.  He’s also extremely mobile, adding 193 on the ground.  Travis is a load for opposing defenses.

Florida State’s rushing attack is that “three-headed monster” that I spoke of in the open.  Treshaun Ward and Trey Benson will likely get the first looks for the Noles, but Lawrance Toafili is the bruising back that leads the RB room with 4 touchdowns on the season.  The running back room averages 204.2 yards per game and with a former OL coach leading the offense, this isn’t likely to change any time soon.

The running back room may get a lot of praise but the receivers are extremely athletic as well and truly complement the offense.  Mycah Pittman, the Oregon transfer, gets most of the praise, but 6’7” 235lb Johnny Wilson is an extremely tough cover for anyone in the country.  Not only is he big, but he’s got great hands as well.  The running backs get involved in the passing game as well.  Notable is FSU will get Ja’Khi Douglas back this week which adds a different element in the passing game.  Keep your eyes on him.

Tight end Camren McDonald, at 6’4” 245lbs, is a big dump-down target for Travis, and FSU has historically utilized the TE in the passing game, especially against the Tigers.  McDonald has yet to score a touchdown, but has been targeted 8 times.

The offensive line is extremely physical and built to run-block.  Led by Right Guard D’Mitri Emmanuel and Center Maurice Smith.  These two gentlemen are big, strong and physical and it will be something to watch with the Clemson defensive line.  Dillon Gibbons, Robert Scott Jr. and Jazston Turnetine round out the projected starters and they all have experience.

The offense has scored 188 points over 6 games for an average of 31.3 points per game.  As noted earlier, 1225 yards on the ground for an average of 204.2 and 1570 yards through the air for an average of 261.7 yards.


Onto the defensive side of the ball: Defensive Coordinator Adam Fuller is in his 3rd year in charge of the Noles defense.  Working his way through the coaching ranks, he’s been at Richmond, Wagner College, Chattanooga, Marshall, and Memphis before coming to Tallahassee with Norvell.  Fuller usually plays with the traditional 4-3 defense, but has been going to 4-2-5 a good bit this season as well.

Here is a look at the projected starters for the defense:

Defensive End – Jared Verse – So. – 18 Tackles; 7.5 TFLs; 4 Sacks

Defensive Tackle – Fabien Lovett – Jr. – 2 Tackles

Nose Tackle – Robert Cooper – Jr. – 8 Tackles

FOX – Dennis Briggs Jr. – Jr. – 11 Tackles

Linebacker – Kalen DeLoach – Jr. – 31 Tackles; 4 TFLs; 2.5 Sacks; 5 PBUs

Linebacker – Tatum Bethune – Jr. – 45 Tackles; 6.5 TFLs; 1 Sack; 1 Fumble Recovery

BUCK – Akeem Dent – Jr. – 37 Tackles; 3 PBU

Free Safety – Jammie Robinson – Jr. – 43 Tackles; 1 Int.3 PBU

Nickel Back – Kevin Knowles II – So. – 15 Tackles; 1 INT

Cornerback – Omarion Cooper – So. – 9 Tackles; 1 INT

Cornerback – Renardo Green – Jr. – 35 Tackles; 1 TFL

As Dabo Swinney said in his press conference this week previewing the Seminoles, the linebackers were the focus, and Jr. Tatum Bethune is as advertised.  Leading the team with 45 tackles and an eye-popping 6.5 tackles for loss.  Backer-mate Kalen DeLoach adds 4 TFLs and that’s a heck of a duo in the middle.  Albany transfer defensive end Jared Verse has lived in the backfield (when not held to a snap-count because of injury) and has 4 sacks.  He is going to be a problem and a huge focus of the offensive line for Clemson.

The defense line is athletic as heck.  I mentioned Verse, but Fabien Lovett and Robert Cooper are big-bodied and able to clog the middle to let the linebackers shoot gaps.  This is a well-coached defensive unit that is loaded with experience and athletic as can be.

They have 8 takeaways on the season with 4 interceptions and 4 fumble recoveries and are a +1 in the turnover margin on the season.

Florida State defensively has yielded 125 points per game for an average of 20.8 points per game.  They’ve allowed 1086 yards on the ground for an average of 155.3 yards per game and 1022 yards through the air for an average of 170.3.  Total defense average yards given up is 325.7.

Special Teams:

Punter – Alex Mastromanno – So. – 42.3 average

Place Kicker – Ryan Fitzgerald – So. – 5-10 FGs long of 47

Punt Returner – Mycah Pittman – 11.3 average

Kick Returner – Trey Benson – 41.8 average (4 returns; 1 TD)

Florida State has been a little bit of a surprise team.  They got out of the gates with 4 straight victories over teams that they should beat perennially.  And then took a step up in competition to face Wake and NC State and dropped both games, although they should have won the NC State game last weekend.

The intriguing thing about this game is that the betting line, according to Vegas, opened up at 7.5 for Clemson and is now (currently) at 3.5.  There’s something fishy with that.  But not fishy enough to pick against my Tigers.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change

879. 13. 804. Prediction. 27

Next. Staff picks for Week 7. dark