Coming off a bye week, the Tigers will face their stiffest competition of this young season when they head to Tallahassee to face the No. 1 Seminoles. Clemson will be looking to take advantage of Jameis Winston’s half-game suspension and perhaps get out to a lead at halftime.
Force turnovers while taking care of the ball: Clemson gave up the ball four times last year’s game – two fumbles and two interceptions – on their way to a 51-14 blowout. If the Tigers can take care of the ball and force the FSU offense into some turnovers of its own, they will be in good shape. They have to take advantage of Sean Maguire’s inexperience and get him to make a few mistakes. Bringing pressure and forcing Maguire to hurry is key.
The offense has to take advantage of third downs: Florida State’s defense is absolutely atrocious on third down. They rank 116th in college football at limiting yards on third down. That’s out of 125 teams by the way. Clemson isn’t exactly a third down juggernaut as they have only converted 17 of its 38 attempts, but that’s in the upper half of D-1 football. If Clemson can improve upon that even a little bit, they will have a chance to tire the FSU defense and grind out possessions into scores.
Force as many punts as possible: This seems like a no-brainer, but this would be especially good for the Clemson offense because FSU is averaging only 36 yards a punt. Cason Beatty has been struggling and his longest punt has been 40 yards this season. Granted, he has only punted six times, but those lack of real game repetitions could come back to bite the team. If Clemson keeps getting good field position, they’re bound to score at some point.