Saturday, October 27, 2018

Schaible: Clemson sends a message to the CFP committee in emphatic fashion at rival Florida State

Photo Credit: Joe Robbins- Getty Images

By: Brian Schaible
Twitter: @SBNationReports

After the Florida State Seminoles dominated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons last Saturday, there were reasons to believe the Seminoles could pose a challenge to the second ranked Clemson Tigers on Saturday.

When Renegade and Osceola sprinted out of the tunnel to plant the flaming spear at midfield, the crowd came to life, and there was a sense something special might happen at Doak Campbell stadium.

For one quarter, that was indeed the case.

The next three quarters, well, not so much.

As the clock hit zero, the Seminoles ended up tying their worst home margin of defeat in school history. A 59-10 shellacking that amplified the boo-birds and had coach Willie Taggart questioning his players efforts on the football field.

“I felt like we had some guys who quit on our football team and that cannot be tolerated,” Taggart said. “One thing you can’t do, you can’t quit. You quit, you don’t play.”

Seminoles defensive end Brian Burns echoed the message from his coach. “Most definitely (the team quit).” “The effort level wasn’t there. Their energy level wasn’t there…... I’ll never be happy about it because I had given it my all and I was trying to encourage others to give it their all.”

The Seminoles drop to 4-4 and are staring down a perilous path to a potential 42nd consecutive winning season and 37th straight bowl appearance. With road games at NC State and Notre Dame and home contests against Boston College and Florida, it looks like tough sledding ahead to even generate one victory.

For Clemson, it’s business as usual. Their path to the playoffs is freshly paved. You can already pencil in three upcoming home victories against Louisville, Duke, and South Carolina and one potential challenge on the road against Boston College. After that, they’ll hold their annual pep rally in Charlotte which is also known as the ACC Championship.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is still soaking it all in.

“This is an awesome accomplishment for our seniors,” Swinney said. “This is something they really wanted to do. They just wanted to find a way to win the game and be the first ACC class to go 4-0 on these guys. I’m really proud of them for that. It’s an unbelievable moment.”

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence had another impressive outing to bolster his Heisman campaign prospects.

“Just awesome,” Lawrence said of his offensive line protection. “They have been playing their butts off the whole season but especially the last two weeks. We are growing together and getting closer and just overall building trust.”

The offensive line did not allow a single sack and were creating holes big enough that even a 315-pound defensive tackle could run through. That would be Christian Wilkins who all but ended this game in second quarter with memorable dive into the end zone after a one-yard rush.

“The guys just did a great job of clearing it open for me,” Wilkins said. “I really didn’t have to do much but I had to dive for style points just to make it fun out there and show my athleticism a little bit.”