Matt Connolly

Connolly’s prediction: Clemson won’t face same FSU team that was blown out in last road game

Dabo Swinney previews matchup with Florida State

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney expects a big challenge vs. the Florida State Seminoles
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Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney expects a big challenge vs. the Florida State Seminoles

Florida State suffered an embarrassing 35-3 loss to Boston College the last time it went on the road, but the FSU team that was dominated by the Eagles will likely be different from the one Clemson faces Saturday afternoon.

The Seminoles appeared to be lacking motivation at Boston College and it showed with their play, but the preseason No. 3 team in the country should be focused against the fourth-ranked Tigers.

Florida State is 3-5 entering the matchup, while Clemson is 8-1 and can clinch the ACC Atlantic with a win. FSU would love to keep the Tigers from doing so.

“It’s Clemson-Florida State. It’s what you expect… We all know what’s at stake this week, and we know the type of Florida State team that we’re going to see,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “Their record has zero to do with their ability, their talent. You’ve got to look beyond that. It’s easy to just say, ‘Oh, they’re 3-5, they’re a bad team.’ No.”

Florida State has not come close to living up to expectations in 2017, but the Seminoles have been competitive against some of the better teams in the ACC.

FSU lost to N.C. State 27-21, gave Wake Forest its only home loss with a 26-19 win and led No. 7 Miami in the final minutes before the Hurricanes scored with six seconds left to escape and earn a 24-20 victory.

“I know Jimbo (Fisher) is probably incredibly frustrated just simply because they’ve had some tough games. The quarterback gets hurt. They’ve had a lot of injuries. And then they’ve had three games that have come down to literally the last play of the game,” Swinney said. “But let me just tell you this is a very talented team.”

Clemson has several key contributors from the state of Florida, including star receivers Ray-Ray McCloud and Deon Cain. The two have been in touch with some friends on Florida State’s team and are expecting a tough game.

McCloud has been discussing the game for the past few weeks with FSU star receiver Auden Tate, who McCloud played against in high school.

“He said, 'We saved everything for y'all,' so they're putting everything they got into this game,” McCloud said. “Me and him kind of got some beef because when we played at Nike camp we went against each other and you know I came victorious but we'll see this week. He's definitely a top receiver in college football in my eyes and everybody else's eyes too. It'll be a good matchup."

Even an inspired Florida State team will not be able to pull off the upset, but I don’t expect it to be the blowout a lot of Tigers fans do.

Prediction: Clemson 24, Florida State 14

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