CLEMSON – C.J. Spiller joked this week that he planned to ask Florida State special teams coach Jody Allen – the assistant who recruited him – for a favor or two.
Opponents had increasingly opted to kick away from Spiller because of his collection of momentum-swinging returns.
But Clemson’s special teams were its own worst enemy Saturday night, playing a major role in why the Tigers needed 19 unanswered fourth-quarter points to prevail 40-24.
Junior kicker Richard Jackson missed two extra points and a pair of field goals inside 40 yards, while backup kicker Spencer Benton likewise missed a point-after.
“I was going to getting ready to put (safety) DeAndre McDaniel in to kick the extra point because I’ve seen him do it at practice,” coach Dabo Swinney said, perhaps jokingly.
The missed extra points were Clemson’s first since the 2006 Music City Bowl, ending a span of 116 consecutive makes. Jackson had connected on all 25 attempts this season.
As far as returns went, Allen surprising complied to Spiller’s wish – for a while.
The Seminoles sent their first three kickoffs Spiller’s way. He tallied returns of 23, 21 and 27 yards before FSU altered its strategy, sky-kicking short upon building a 17-6 first-quarter advantage.
With his career-high 165 rushing yards, Spiller vaulted from fifth to third on Clemson’s career rushing list, surpassing Kenny Flowers (2,914) and Travis Zachery (3,058). It would take a personally unprecedented stretch to reach former teammate and close friend James Davis (3,881) for second in the last several games.
Spiller also tallied his 106th career catch on Clemson’s opening drive, surpassing Travis Zachery for the program record for most receptions by a running back.
Senior tight end Durrell Barry’s 2-yard touchdown reception with 4:06 remaining marked not only his first catch of the year.
Of his nine career catches, four have come against the Seminoles.
From tee to green
Reigning U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover made it safely down “The Hill,” although he and coach Dabo Swinney would have been penalized for a false start.
Glover ran down “The Hill” as part of pregame ceremonies honoring him and another former Clemson golfer, Charles Warren.
Warren was inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor, the first golfer to receive the athletic department’s highest honor.
Clemson’s band played “New York, New York” as Glover was honored. Glover triumphed at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y., and attended World Series games in New York last week watching his team, the Yankees.
Cornering the market
Senior corner Chris Chancellor left the game with 8 minutes remaining in the second quarter with a lower leg injury and was on crutches thereafter.
That could have been a dangerous proposition for a defense that relied on man coverage against FSU’s fleet of speed receivers.
But backup corner Byron Maxwell fared well as a replacement, and both he and fellow backup Coty Sensabaugh recorded interceptions.
Signed and delivered
Before the game, Swinney, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and offensive line coach Brad Scott presented retiring FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews with a helmet autographed by Clemson’s staff and a ball autographed by players for his contributions to the Tigers.
Andrews, who has spent the last 26 seasons at FSU, served as Clemson’s coordinator from 1977-80. Steele and Scott worked with Andrews in previous stints at FSU.
Parker established Clemson freshman records for single-season touchdown passes and passing yards, topping Charlie Whitehurst’s 10 touchdowns and 1,554 yards as a late-year starter in 2002. … Spiller and senior receiver Jacoby Ford became the NCAA’s top career all-purpose yardage duo in the third quarter, moving past San Diego State’s Marshall Faulk and Darnay Scott. … Clemson has scored 38 points in each of its last four games, the first time the team has done that in program history. Its 483 offensive yards were a season high. … Instead of elevating freshman Malliciah Goodman into the lineup, senior Kevin Alexander started at strong-side end in replacement of injured Da’Quan Bowers.