Clemson‘s improving defense was thought to be the key to victory in this game, but ran into Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and the Seminoles’ offense, which put up 565 yards of total offense in their 51-14 rout of the Tigers in Death Valley.
Their victory puts them in the driver’s seat of the ACC Atlantic Division and keeps their BCS National Championship hopes alive. Their offense defeated Clemson’s defense in all aspects of the game, and Clemson’s defense failed to respond over the long haul.
With that being said, here are the weekly grades for the Tigers’ defense against the Noles:
Defensive Line: F
Defensive end Corey Crawford may have played well, but lack of production and push from the defensive line gave Winston plenty of time in the pocket to pick apart Clemson’s defense. Vic Beasley was a non-factor at defensive end and was unable to make his way into FSU’s backfield or take Winston to the ground. FSU’s offensive line was very physical against Clemson’s line, and it showed on every one of Florida State’s possessions on offense.
The linebackers were unable to do enough in their play to make a difference in the outcome for Clemson’s defense. Just as Crawford’s play wasn’t enough to win, neither was linebacker Stephone Anthony‘s play enough to completely boost a defense shredded by the Florida State offense.
While the team did not surrender too many yards on the ground (125 yards), it was an entirely different story through the air. It soon got to a point when the linebackers then lost containment of Winston on the ground as he ripped off several long run on the occasions where nothing was open deep downfield.
The secondary has been average up until this point, and it was especially humbled by Florida State’s receiving corps and Jameis Winston’s arm. The Tigers had little answers for 6-foot-5 receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who easily scored the Noles’ first touchdown. Rashad Greene and tight end Nick O’Leary finished with 146 and 161 receiving yards respectively, with Greene reaching the end zone twice against the Tigers.
Florida State just outright showed the kind of athletes they bring in on a yearly basis proved that they were the better team.