8:00 PM ET, October 19, 2013
Memorial Stadium (Clemson, SC), Clemson, SC
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Jameis Winston and Florida State didn't take long to hush Death Valley, making a statement that that could be heard from Alabama to Oregon.
The Seminoles' remarkable redshirt freshman threw for 444 yards and three touchdowns and No. 5 Florida State crushed No. 3 Clemson 51-14 Saturday night. When the first BCS standings of the season come out Sunday, Florida State should be right there with the top-ranked Crimson Tide and second-ranked Ducks, fighting for the top spots.
"Do we deserve to be in the top two? We deserve to be No. 1," Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith said.
More FSU-Clemson Coverage
If defense win championships, Florida State showed Saturday night against Clemson that it has the goods, writes Ivan Maisel. Story
Jameis Winston, the quarterback, was exceptional in dismantling No. 3 Clemson 51-14 on Saturday. But it was Jameis Winston, the leader, that was front and center, writes David Hale. Blog
Florida State looked like the Seminoles of old, while Clemson also looked like the Tigers of old. That's only a good thing for one of these teams, writes Heather Dinich. Blog
The Atlantic Coast Conference's game of the year, billed as maybe the league's biggest game ever, quickly became a Seminoles' seminar on how to take apart a top-five opponent on its hostile home turf in front of 83,428.
"We don't play against noise. We're playing against the Clemson Tigers," Winston said. "It was amazing, when we were out on the field that first snap. It was loud and we started smiling because we don't play against noise."
The game started with two Heisman Trophy contender quarterbacks. It ended with one.
Playing in one of the loudest stadiums in the country, Winston was unfazed, going 22 for 34 for Florida State (6-0, 4-0). His first throw was a 22-yard touchdown to Kelvin Benjamin, and he scrambled for a 4-yard touchdown that made it 41-7 with 4:04 left in the third quarter.
"They took advantage of our mistakes," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "They might be the best team in the country."
Tajh Boyd threw two interceptions for Clemson, and his first-quarter fumble was returned 37 yards for touchdown by Mario Edwards. Clemson (6-1, 4-1) turned it over a season-high four times, the first one on the first play from scrimmage.
"We know we're better than how we played, but nobody cares about that," Swinney said.
Rashad Greene caught eight passes for 146 yards and two scores, including a 72-yard sprint that made it 24-7 Florida State in the second quarter.
SN: FSU routs Clemson
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The Seminoles broke a five-game losing streak at Memorial Stadium, scored more points than any opponent ever has in Death Valley and gave fourth-year coach Jimbo Fisher his biggest victory since taking over for Bobby Bowden.
Florida State is also perfect through six games for the first time since 1999, the last time Bowden's `Noles won the national championship.
As for Clemson, the Tigers can't be accused of "Clemsoning" this one away. They were simply outclassed.
Florida State tight end Nick O'Leary punctuated the beatdown in the third quarter, running over Clemson's Travis Blanks as he tried to make a tackle. Seminoles by a knockout. O'Leary finished with five catches for 161
The game marked only the fourth time that the conference better known for basketball has matched two top-five football teams, and the first time since 2005.
Not long after Clemson made its grand entrance, sprinting past Howard's Rock and down the hill onto the field, orange balloons filling the sky above Memorial Stadium, Florida State took control. On the first play from scrimmage Smith stripped Stanton Seckinger and Terrence Brooks recovered for the Seminoles at the Clemson 34.
Two plays later, Winston lofted deep down the sideline to the 6-foot-5 Benjamin, who went up high for the perfectly thrown ball and landed with it inside the pylon for a touchdown less than two minutes into the game.
Winston has been even better than advertised in his first season as a starter, hard to believe considering the hype. But this opponent and this setting represented by far the biggest challenge of his young career. Turns out, it was just another showcase game -- for Florida State's defense, too.
Lamarcus Joyner forced Clemson turnover No. 2, coming free on a backside blitz and knocking the ball free from Boyd. Edwards scooped and scored, covering the ball with two arms as he crossed the goal line with a Clemson player trying to strip it from behind. It was 17-0 with 3:07 left in the first quarter and Death Valley suddenly didn't seem so daunting.
Clemson made a much needed response, Boyd hitting Sammy Watkins with a 3-yard touchdown pass to trim the lead to 10 late in the first quarter. But the Tigers couldn't take advantage of good field position in the second quarter before Winston and his talented receivers struck again.
Winston beat a Clemson blitz with a quick pass to Greene, who slipped a tackle and was gone, 72 yards for a touchdown that made it 24-7 midway through the second. Greene made a shush gesture to the Clemson fans. He didn't need to. He had already quieted them.
Joyner's interception of Boyd in Florida State territory turned it into another field goal to make it 27-7 at halftime.
Boyd finished 17 for 37 for 156 yards.
The last sounds heard booming from Memorial Stadium were from the Florida State band, playing that familiar Seminole war chant with its fans chopping away.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... FSU's Mario Edwards Jr. scooped up a Tajh Boyd fumble and bolted 37 yards for a touchdown. The Noles had a 17-0 lead just 12 minutes in.
Gameball goes to... FSU freshman phenom Jameis Winston, of course. If 4 TDs weren't impressive enough, Winston led three out of FSU's five TD drives in 1:39 or less.
Stat of the game... 156. Heisman hopeful Boyd threw for just more than half than his average. Backup Cole Stoudt matched Boyd's TD output in mopup duty.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-12||5-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||3-5|
|TD||13:38||Kelvin Benjamin 22 Yd Pass From Jameis Winston (Roberto Aguayo Kick)||7||0|
|FG||04:18||Roberto Aguayo 28 Yd||10||0|
|TD||03:07||Mario Edwards Jr. 37 Yd Fumble Return (Roberto Aguayo Kick)||17||0|
|TD||00:51||Sammy Watkins 3 Yd Pass From Tajh Boyd (Chandler Catanzaro Kick)||17||7|
|TD||07:08||Rashad Greene 72 Yd Pass From Jameis Winston (Roberto Aguayo Kick)||24||7|
|FG||00:03||Roberto Aguayo 24 Yd||27||7|
|TD||13:33||Rashad Greene 17 Yd Pass From Jameis Winston (Roberto Aguayo Kick)||34||7|
|TD||04:04||Jameis Winston 4 Yd Run (Roberto Aguayo Kick)||41||7|
|TD||12:17||Devonta Freeman 2 Yd Run (Roberto Aguayo Kick)||48||7|
|FG||04:41||Roberto Aguayo 20 Yd||51||7|
|TD||00:13||Cole Stoudt 2 Yd Run (Chandler Catanzaro Kick)||51||14|
The death knell has rung for Florida State the last 5 times the Seminoles have ventured into Death Valley... FSU has not won at Clemson since 2001, losing all 5 meetings there by almost two touchdowns a game since then... The 'Noles have been outgained by almost 80 yards a game in the 5 contests, while committing twice as many turnovers (12/6).[+]
Death Valley's Death Knell - Florida State at Clemson Last 5 Meetings
ESPN Stats & Information