Game of the Week: No. 22 Clemson vs. No. 1 Florida State

posted September 19, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Zach Rittle

Another week passes by and Florida State continues to be ranked number one in the Polls. However, they will face their toughest test of the year, as they host the 22nd ranked Clemson Tigers this Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium at 8 P.M. 

Last year this game was one of the most talked about games leading up to the contest. The fifth ranked Seminoles went into the third ranked Tigers’ house and beat them convincingly. Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston threw for over 400 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 51-14 rout over the Tigers. 

Both teams lost numerous key players from a season ago. The player Florida State did not think they would lose is Winston. Winston blurted out an obscene phrase in the student union, and as a result Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has suspended Winston for the first half of Saturdays contest. Winston’s backup, Jerry Maguire, is a redshirt sophomore out of Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey. 

Maguire will start his first career collegiate game in front of a sellout crowd.  Maguire has attempted just 26 career passes, completing 16 of them for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. This will be the biggest test to date for Maguire, but the man he is replacing has full confidence in him. 

"Sean is a great quarterback, and that's why Coach Fisher recruited him,” said Winston. “Sean is hungry. He wants his opportunity. God has blessed him." 

Clemson started the season out slow as Georgia outscored them 24-0 in the second half in a 45-21 loss. Clemson is without their returning leading rusher from a season ago, Zac Brooks, who is out for the season with a foot injury he sustained in the preseason. Clemson is coming off a 73-7 victory over South Carolina State where they had 735 yards of total offense, while only allowing 44 yards of total offense. Florida State is now a 16 ½ point favorite over Clemson, as they were originally 20 ½ point favorites at the beginning of the week. 

Who to Watch For:

RB Karlos Williams (Florida State) - One of the most versatile players on the Florida State squad, Williams played his first two years as a safety. Last year he made the switch to running back, where he rushed for 730 yards and 11 touchdowns. Williams is now the primary running back and has rushed for 132 yards and 1 touchdown on the season. 

DE Mario Williams Jr. (Florida State) – Williams was the number one recruit in the nation in 2012. Last season he had 9 ½ tackles for loss to go along with 3 ½ sacks. Williams has recorded one sack on the year, along with one pass deflection. 

WR Artavis Scott (Clemson) – Scott is a true freshman who has made a big impact early. With the loss of Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant to the NFL draft, Clemson needed someone to step up. Scott has 8 receptions for 205 yards on the season. Scott was rated as the 68th best player coming out of high school. 

DE Vic Beasley (Clemson) – Beasley was a first team All-American in the 2013 season. He decided to return to Clemson for his fifth year. He had 23 tackles for loss and 12 sacks last season, as he was a force in the ACC. Beasley already has three tackles for loss and  two sacks on the year. 

By the Numbers:

18: The number of games Florida State has won in a row. This streak dates back to the 2012-2013 season. 18 is also the number of Cole Stoudt. If Clemson has any chance of pulling the upset, they will need a career day from their quarterback. 

241: This is the number of passing yards that Florida State out-gained Clemson by last season. The reason this number is so important is due to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first half. Can Florida State still manage to throw the ball without Winston?

Final Thoughts- Clemson lost four of their top playmakers from their offense from the previous season. Clemson’s offense could not keep up with Georgia’s, so can the Tigers manage to score enough points against the Seminoles? Does Florida State come and throw the ball with their backup quarterback, or will they play it conservatively until their star returns in the second half? It is hard to bet against the Seminoles when the War Chant will be playing all night long. 

Prediction- 38-17 Florida State. 

Zach Rittle is a senior broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email him at zar5038@psu.edu.