The Clemson Tigers have not lost a game yet this season but they have fallen from No. 1 in the rankings. This was because of their scare in North Carolina prior to their bye week. Clemson will return home this week after a week off to host Florida State.
Florida State has won two in a row to get back over .500 and they have done it behind their backup quarterback Alex Hornibrook. The Seminoles made the switch during their win over Louisville and it proved to be the right move. Hornibrook is a veteran quarterback who saw success at Wisconsin.
Florida State vs. Clemson Preview
Clemson is not looking like the team that dominated Alabama in last year’s title game. They are undefeated but they have not been clicking on all cylinders. Trevor Lawrence has thrown five interceptions already this season. It will be interesting to see how the sophomore comes out of the break.
“I don’t think he’s up and down. I think he’s 5-0 and has made a lot of great plays. He’s not perfect,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said of his quarterback. “When you say up and down, you’re trying to get me to agree to that. And I don’t agree with that at all. He’s been very consistent, actually. He’s not some robot that is never going to make a mistake. I think his success creates a different standard for him.”
There is no doubt that this offense will be dominant down the stretch. Travis Etienne is one of the best running backs in the nation averaging 6.9 yards per carry. Tee Higgins is proving to be a star. He is a projected first-round pick in the NFL Draft and is showing why with 505 receiving yards. Higgins is averaging 23 yards per reception.
Florida State is two or three plays away from being 5-0. They seemed to have figured out their identity and it begins with Hornibrook. He was inserted into the game against Louisville and led them back in that game. Against NC State, Hornibrook was sacked eight times but he finished with 316 yards and three touchdowns. He has not turned the ball over yet.
As good as Hornibrook has been, Florida State seems committed to James Blackman. Head coach Willie Taggart said he will start against Clemson but Hornibrook will play in the game. This is not the right move with how Hornibrook has been playing. He should be the starter but Taggart seems to have a plan.
“You just work them in however you see fit to help you win a ballgame. Like I say, they both, they’re different, different mindsets,” Taggart said. “I think Alex is more businesslike. James is, again, he’s going to inspire you to do some things out there, his teammates. But like I say, they both have executed our offense the way we need them to, and no matter who’s in there we need them to continue to do that, continue to distribute the ball to our playmakers, and then more importantly, take care of the football.”
Florida State vs. Clemson Pick & Prediction
Clemson enters this game as a four touchdown favorite at home. FanDuel Sportsbook has the line at 27.5 points. The odds makers are not buying the hype surrounding Florida State.
This might be the best team that Clemson has played so far. Florida State comes in confident and believing that they can compete in this game. The fact that this game is being played in Death Valley makes it hard to think that the Seminoles will be in it. Four touchdowns is high.
Clemson is one of the best teams in the nation but they have blown out much lesser opponents. That is not Florida State. This game will not be a nail biter but expect the Seminoles to stay within four touchdowns.
PICK: Florida State +27.5
SCORE PREDICTION: Clemson 42, Florida State 20