It has been very clear that the turnover battle will probably be the most telling statistic for Clemson Football when they face Florida State this weekend.
In the Duke game and the first half of the Charleston Southern game when Clemson was turning the ball over, the Tigers were outscored 45-31. In the second half against CSU and the game against Florida Atlantic, when Clemson was not turning the ball over, the Tigers outscored their opponents 90-14.
Florida State is a different beast from CSU and FAU, so protecting the ball will be important, but we learned this past weekend another team stat will be key if Clemson is to be successful against the Seminoles: time of possession.
In FSU’s first two wins, they won the time of possession battle. They possessed the ball 35:23 against LSU and 32:33 against Southern Miss. They beat LSU by 21 and blew out Southern Miss.
In Florida State’s 31-29 win against Boston College, the Eagles won the time of possession 33:50 to the Seminoles’ 26:10.
Clemson Football needs to keep their offense on the field and Florida State’s offense on the sideline
The best way to prevent Jordan Travis, Keon Coleman, and Johnny Wilson from scoring against the Tigers is to keep them off the field.
In many ways, winning the time of possession is just an easy way to summarize several other statistics that all contribute to that goal: third down conversion rate, success in the run game, and (as we already mentioned) not turning over the football.
The caveat here for the Tigers is tempo. Under head coach Garrett Riley, the offense has moved with a quicker tempo. Even if the Tigers take a moment to review the defensive formation before snapping the ball, they tend to get to the line quickly.
While Clemson’s tempo might be a small disadvantage in the time of possession battle, if the Tigers do all the other things right, the effect will still be the same.