Florida State Seminoles’ Defense Smothers Tajh Boyd, Clemson Tigers

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night’s top-five matchup between Clemson and Florida State featured two outstanding offenses and was supposed to be a shoot out.

That never materialized.

While the Seminoles’ offense went up and down the field consistently, the Clemson offense was out of sync from the first snap. The result was a demoralizing 51-14 thrashing in Death Valley.

On the opening play, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd completed a pass to Stanton Seckinger, but he coughed up the ball when Seminoles cornerback Lamarcus Joyner ripped it out just before he hit the ground. From there, it didn’t get much better.

The high-powered Clemson attack struggled with pass protections, as Florida State blitzed Boyd from all over the field. With pressure in his face, Boyd had one of the worst performances of his career.

The senior signal caller went 17-for-37 for 156 yards with a touchdown and two costly interceptions. He also got blindsided late in the first quarter, lost the ball and had to watch as Florida State defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. return it 27 yards for a touchdown.

That fumble was also caused by Joyner, who was in Boyd’s head all night. On a handful of occasions, Joyner crept up from his cornerback spot and blitz Boyd. More often than not, the result was a negative play. Then, on another play that swung the momentum, Joyner showed blitz, backed off late and was able to run under a poorly thrown ball for a red-zone interception.

The Clemson offense converted only 5-of-15 third down opportunities and couldn’t sustain drives against a swarming Seminoles defense.

The final stats were a bit skewed because of a late touchdown drive with the backups in, but even still, the Tigers only gained 326 yards on the day.

It was a dominating performance from start to finish, and showed that the Seminoles are perhaps the best team in the country.

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