Down by two touchdowns more than four minutes into the third quarter, the No. 4 Florida State Seminoles rode a dominant rushing attack and golden performance from senior quarterback E.J. Manuel to 35 second-half points and a 49-37 home victory over conference foe No. 10 Clemson.
Manuel threw for 380 yards on 27-of-35 passing and tossed two third-quarter touchdowns, the second a 29-yard strike to Rodney Smith which put the Seminoles up 35-31, a lead they would not relinquish.
As a team, Florida State ran for 287 yards, averaging 7.2 yards per carry. Chris Thompson and James Wilder Jr. ran for two scores apiece, and Manuel rushed for 102 yards on 11 carries. Seminoles senior back Lonnie Pryor also ran for a touchdown.
Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 232 yards and three touchdowns on 19-of-35 passing. Both DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Ellington caught a touchdown and finished with more than 85 yards receiving, but sophomore speedster Sammy Watkins was held in check, finishing with just 61 total yards from scrimmage on five receptions and six rushes.
Watkins did throw a touchdown on a fake screen, a 52-yard score to Ellington which gave Clemson a 28-14 lead with 11:48 to go in the third quarter. But Florida State came storming back, scoring five touchdowns over the next 16 minutes.
Box Score Hero: Manuel, who accounted for 482 yards of total offense in leading the Seminoles to a huge conference win at home over a Top 10 opponent. Manuel passed for 380 yards on 27-of-35 passing with two touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions. He also ran for 102 yards and a touchdown on 11 rushing attempts.
Rankings Ramifications: This was certainly an impressive win for Florida State, and after No. 2 LSU barely squeaked out a 12-10 win over Auburn, things could interesting in the Top 5. Depending on how No. 3 Oregon fares against No. 22 Arizona, the Seminoles could move up a spot if LSU drops. As for Clemson, they're due for a fall but likely not too far after playing an exciting game against a Top 5 team on the road.
But Did They Cover? Florida State was favored by a couple touchdowns, so they did not cover. The over/under ranged from 54.5 to 56, so obviously this game blew that out of the water.
Next Week's Schedule: Florida State travels to South Florida next week, while Clemson will head to Boston College.