Clemson showed flashes early on of the team that made it to the national title game last season but couldn’t quite keep the momentum going as the Tigers held a 17-10 lead in the first half over Florida State.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson was extremely efficient on his way to throwing for 146 yards through two quarters, including a touchdown throw and an interception. He was also the team’s leading rusher at the break too, with 57 yards on a variety of scrambles and designed runs.
Wayne Gallman added another 28 yards on the ground and scored the Tigers’ first touchdown as the tailback returned to action from a nasty hit two weeks ago that forced him to miss most of the win over N.C. State with a concussion.
It could have been a lot worse for the Seminoles given the number of short fields Watson and company had but the defense rallied in the second quarter to give up fewer big plays. Deondre Francois was harassed in the passing game most of the half and couldn’t connect on much downfield, but did rally for a touchdown in the final two minutes before the end of the half to breathe some life into the home crowd.
Florida State star Dalvin Cook was held in check by Brent Venables’ Clemson defense, with the one-time Heisman Trophy candidate rushing for just 33 yards. He did find the end zone for the team’s first touchdown though and could be a big factor for the offense going forward.
It will be interesting to see what kind of adjustments both teams make coming out of the halftime break as it seems as though the defending ACC champions were close to breaking this one open but the home team just wouldn’t let them. Don’t discount the Seminoles however, as they are certainly known for their fair share of second half comebacks and get the ball to begin the third quarter.