Inside the box score: Clemson routs FSU

CLEMSON, S.C. – A forgettable day on the road against a rival. A game that was painful to watch.

Clemson routed Florida State 45-14 to pick up the fifth straight victory in a series that was once one of the ACC’s – and the nation’s – best.

But since 2015, it has been all Clemson. The Tigers have outscored FSU 195-85 in the five-game win streak over the Seminoles.

FSU (3-3, 2-2 ACC) was shut out for most of three quarters, regardless of who was at quarterback. Neither James Blackman nor Alex Hornibrook could generate much offense against a fierce Clemson defensive front. The Seminoles broke through with 2:02 left in the third quarter as Hornibrook connected with Tamorrion Terry on a 64-yard catch and run.

Offensive notes

FSU punted nine times, with eight of those coming on three-and-outs. The Seminoles again had a lopsided time of possession at 20 minutes, 23 seconds.

While Clemson’s defense put pressure on the quarterbacks, recording three sacks and five pressures, the mistakes by Blackman and Hornibrook were glaring. They combined for three interceptions and Cam Akers had a fumble.

FSU was well under 100 offensive yards late in the third quarter until the long pass play from Hornibrook to Terry. The Seminoles finished with 253, helped by a late 40-yard touchdown run by Khalan Laborn. He had eight carries for 69 yards in his most significant playing time of the season.

James Blackman completed 9 of 23 passes for 66 yards and two interceptions. Alex Hornibrook was 8 of 12 for 84 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Hornibrook played on FSU’s third drive, the same as he did against Louisville.

FSU started (from left) Abdul Bello, Brady Scott, Baveon Johnson, Dontae Lucas and Ryan Roberts on the offensive line. Late in the third quarter, Jauan Williams returned after a three-game absence and played at left tackle. Left guard Cole Minshew returned from offseason neck surgery and played on the same drive as Williams, which resulted in FSU’s touchdown.

Clear evidence of a winner in FSU’s kicking competition never truly materialized. Ricky Aguayo made both extra-point attempt after the second-half touchdowns.

Defensive notes

FSU had two turnovers. Hamsah Nasirildeen kept his feet down along the sideline to snag a pass from Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. And Janarius Robinson forced a third-quarter fumble.

Robinson had six tackles, including four tackles for loss, in his return following a first-half suspension.

The Seminoles started Amari Gainer, Leonard Warner, Dontavious Jackson and Adonis Thomas at linebacker with Robinson serving the suspension. Gainer and Warner each had eight tackles.

Lawrence completed 17 of 25 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns, two to Justyn Ross and one to Travis Etienne. The sophomore quarterback also had a rushing touchdown and sat most of the second half.

For a time in the first half, FSU’s defense was playing without Fagan (leg), Robinson (first half suspension) and the season-ending injuries to Kaindoh and Lars-Woodbey.


Clemson announced the attendance at 80,500.

For more on the injuries to Keyshawn Helton and Cyrus Fagan, see our update here.

FSU plays at Wake Forest on Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the ACC Network.

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