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Florida State vs. Clemson final score 2015: 3 things to know from the Tigers' 23-13 win

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The Tigers have a big garnet monkey off their back.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson threw for 297 yards and ran for 107 more and Wayne Gallman ran in a 25-yard touchdown to give No. 1 Clemson a 23-13 win over No. 16 Florida State on Saturday. The victory clinched the ACC's Atlantic Division for the Tigers for the first time since 2011.

Watson struggled to begin Saturday's showdown, throwing two incompletions on a three-and-out to begin the game and getting sacked twice on Clemson's next drive, which also produced a punt. But the sophomore rebounded well, using both his accurate arm and nimble feet to beat a strong Seminoles defense with bite-sized chunks of yardage.

The Tigers' longest play of the night covered only 38 yards, sure. Clemson's 512 yards against the 'Noles were still the most FSU has given up since their decimation against Oregon in last year's College Football Playoff, and more than 300 of them came in the second half.

1. Clemson's path to the Playoff is clear. Clemson hadn't beaten Florida State since 2011, and the 'Noles were once again the Tigers' highest hurdle, projected by advanced stats as the most difficult game remaining on their schedule.

The win over Florida State feels very much like a landmark win for Dabo Swinney's program, and after painful losses to the Seminoles in 2013 and 2014 — the former an unexpected blowout, the latter a heart-breaking road loss — it has to be sweet for the Tigers' head coach.

2. Dalvin Cook is a bad man, but he's hurt. The Seminoles' Heisman Trophy candidate at running back began Saturday's game with a bang, running for 75 yards and a touchdown on his first touch and adding 36 more yards on his second carry. That Cook was "limited" to another 83 yards on his final 19 carries seems to stretch the definition of "limit."

But he's clearly not as explosive as he was at the beginning of the 2015 season, and has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury for weeks and weeks. Does a totally healthy Cook swing this game? Maybe, or maybe not. But FSU fans will wonder that for the next year.

3. Clemson won by standing tall when it mattered. The Tigers held FSU to a 2-of-12 performance on third down and also stopped two fourth down tries in the fourth quarter, most notably swarming to the ball to gum up a run by Cook with just minutes remaining and a field goal's lead.

Clemson's offense has gotten most of the praise under Swinney, and it doesn't appear diminished under new coordinator Jeff Scott. The Tigers' defense, though, is ferocious despite losing a ton of talent to the NFL from a top-tier 2014 unit — and the defense came through in Death Valley on this Saturday.