FSU’s Top Five Home Moments vs. Clemson

by Mike Ferguson

Photo courtesy of Florida State athletics

It isn’t expected to be a great Saturday in Tallahassee as Florida State enters its rivalry contest with No. 4 Clemson as a 5-touchdown underdog.

Over the years however, the home field has been kind to the Seminoles against the Tigers. Since joining the ACC in 1992, FSU is 11-3 against Clemson in Tallahassee.

The Seminoles are just 2-6 this season and assured of a third straight losing season. With that said, here are some better moments — the top five for FSU at home against the Tigers:

5. Second-Half Barrage Powers FSU in Top-10 Match-Up

(10) Clemson 37, (4) FSU 49
Sept. 22, 2012

The 2012 contest between Florida State and Clemson was a match-up of top 10 teams, but early on, the Tigers were in control. Clemson took a 21-14 lead to the locker room and extended the lead to 28-14 on a long touchdown pass from Tajh Boyd to Andre Ellington. From there on however, EJ Manuel and the FSU offense couldn’t be stopped. Manuel led touchdown drives on the next four possessions and on five of the next six before finishing the night with 482 yards of total offense in a 49-37 FSU victory. The Seminoles would go to win their first ACC crown in seven years.

4. Weinke to Snoop

(10) Clemson 7, (4) FSU 54
Nov. 4, 2000

Many were expecting Bowden Bowl II to be a dog fight as Bobby Bowden’s fourth-ranked Seminoles hosted Tommy Bowden’s No. 10 Clemson Tigers in a highly-anticipated ACC showdown. FSU led 3-0 when a Clemson punt backed the Seminoles up to their own 2-yard-line midway through the first quarter. Rather than try to pound itself out of harm’s way, FSU took a chance with a play-action pass that paid huge dividends. Senior quarterback Chris Weinke faked the hand-off before hiding the football in his own end zone. The entire Clemson defense bit on the fake as Weinke proceeded to hit receiver Marvin “Snoop” Minnis for a 98-yard touchdown pass — the longest in school-history. FSU would go on to a 54-7 rout of Clemson and an eventual ninth straight ACC title. Weinke would finish the night with 521 yards passing en route to winning the Heisman Trophy.

3. A Home-Opening Beatdown

(21) Clemson 0, (1) FSU 57
Sept. 11, 1993

Ranked teams met early in Tallahassee during the 1993 season. The Seminoles had been forced to rally the previous year at Death Valley as FSU quarterback Charlie Ward found Kevin Knox for the winning score with 2:08 to play in a 24-20 victory. Another close one was expected in 1993, but it turned out to be anything but. Behind six touchdown passes from Ward and Danny Kanell and a stingy defense, FSU handed the Tigers their worst loss in 62 years, 57-0. Junior linebacker Derrick Brooks stole the show with a blocked punt that was recovered by Clifton Abraham in the end zone and an 83-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Brooks also made a fourth down tackle on Clemson’s Rodney Blunt near the goal line that turned away the Tigers’ best scoring opportunity. FSU would pitch four shutouts that season en route to its first national championship.

2. Williams’ Walk-Off

(22) Clemson 17, (1) FSU 23
Sept. 20, 2014

Florida State’s 18-game winning streak looked to be in jeopardy in the 2014 ACC opener. With quarterback Jameis Winston suspended for FSU, Sean Maguire was forced to make his first career start. Maguire had drawn FSU even at 17 in the fourth quarter with a 74-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene, but with just more than two minutes remaining, Maguire was intercepted by Jadar Johnson, who returned the pick deep into Seminole territory. With Clemson in the red zone trying to set up for a short field goal, FSU defensive tackle Eddie Goldman made the biggest play of the game, ripping the ball from Tigers’ running back C.J. Davidson to preserve the tie and force overtime. On the first possession in overtime, Goldman got penetration on 4th-and-1, forcing Adam Choice to run into a pair of FSU defenders short of the first down. It took FSU running back Karlos Williams just two plays to find the end zone as his 13-yard scamper lifted the Seminoles to a 23-17 victory. Florida State would go on to finish the regular season undefeated before winning the ACC for a third straight season.

1. Hopkins Hits It

Clemson 13, FSU 16
Nov. 13, 2010

A contest both teams needed to keep their ACC hopes alive appeared headed to overtime late in the 2010 season. With 53 second left, a 29-yard Clemson field goal had knotted the game at 13. With starting quarterback Christian Ponder nursing an arm injury, the Seminoles had enough confidence in backup EJ Manuel to try to win the game in regulation. Manuel was helped by a pass interference penalty and an 18-yard completion to Rodney Smith as he marched the Seminoles to the Clemson 37, giving sophomore kicker Dustin Hopkins a chance to be the hero. The 55-yard attempt was longer than Hopkins had ever made, but with adrenaline on his side, Hopkins’ kick split the uprights with plenty of leg to spare. The kick lifted the FSU to a 16-13 victory and eventually, its first ACC Championship appearance in five years.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Much of this content is crossover from a 2016 article that appeared on The Daily Nole.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

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