After falling to Pitt on the road, Clemson’s chances to make the ACC title game are on life support. The larger looming issue is that the Tigers — eight games into the season — are still working to figure out how to get the offense going. They return home this week against Florida State in hopes of doing just that.
Clemson vs. Florida State game, TV info
Who: Clemson (4-3, 3-2 ACC) vs. Florida State (3-4, 2-3)
Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Vegas odds: Clemson vs FSU point spread
After spending a week as an underdog, Clemson opened as a 10-point favorite over Florida State, which lost the first four games of the season. The two teams didn’t play last year in Tallahassee due to a last-minute positive COVID-19 test on the Clemson side that led to a controversial decision to cancel the game. In 2019, the Tigers beat the Seminoles 45-14 in Death Valley.
Who is Clemson’s starting QB?
Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei was benched in the third quarter against Pitt for Taisun Phommachanh, who led the team down the field for a B.T. Potter field goal. Two series later, Uiagalelei returned and scored on a six-yard run. Given the fact that the Tigers are at a crossroad with their offense, one of the biggest questions this week isn’t just whether or not Phommachanh will see the field, but if the redshirt sophomore will start.
Neither head coach Dabo Swinney nor offensive coordinator Tony Elliott have committed to naming a starter. Both coaches said all positions are up for grabs this week, including the quarterback spot.
Florida State opened the season with an 0-4 record, something that hadn’t happened since the beginning of the late head coach Bobby Bowden’s first years in the 1970s. A 33-30 win over Syracuse seemed to turn the tide for the Seminoles, though. Including the Orange, Florida State has won three games in a row, which included a 59-3 win over UMass on Saturday.
Over the last three weeks, the Seminoles have averaged 42.3 points and 449 yards of total offense. They’ll try to keep that momentum rolling in the back stretch of the season.
THREE FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES TO WATCH
Jordan Travis, QB: Following a fourth straight loss, Florida State head coach Mike Norvell swapped in Jordan Travis for McKenzie Milton. So far this season, Travis has totaled 636 yards and nine touchdowns in addition to 344 yards and four more scores on 66 carries.
Jashaun Corbin, RB: In his second season with the Seminoles, Jashaun Corbin has a team-best 747 all-purpose yards, which includes 683 rushing yards with five touchdowns. The former Texas A&M Aggie is averaging 7.9 yards a carry for the Seminoles’ offense.
Jermaine Johnson, DE: As one of the Seminoles’ most experienced players, Jermaine Johnson helps to anchor the team’s defense. He’s the second-leading tackler with 45, which includes a team-high nine tackles for loss and seven quarterback sacks.
THREE CLEMSON TIGERS TO WATCH
Will Shipley, RB: In his return after a month-long hiatus with a shin injury, Will Shipley had 52 yards on 10 rushes against Pitt. The Tigers’ run game has been one of the most consistent parts of their offense, and Shipley plays a key role in that.
Justyn Ross, WR: The Tigers are in need of a vocal leader and it has to be someone who can put his money where his mouth is. Given Justyn Ross’ level of talent, he’ll have to be one of those guys. Reaching over 1,000 receiving yards in two seasons, the Alabama native will be looked to as a catalyst to get the Tigers’ offense going as both a rallying voice and a playmaker.
Barrett Carter, LB: While he didn’t play a completely clean game against Pitt, Barrett Carter is coming along and learning from the older players in his freshman season. He had six tackles and one pass break-up against the Panthers for 16 total tackles in seven games played so far this year.