The ACC matchup of the weekend features the 11th-ranked Florida St. Seminoles (2-1) traveling to Death Valley to take on the 21st-ranked Clemson Tigers (3-0) Saturday afternoon (3:30pm ET). FSU was unable to rally all the way back against top-ranked Oklahoma in Tallahassee last week, losing 23-13 to the Sooners. Clemson is looking to pull off their second upset of a visiting team in as many weeks after knocking off defending BCS National Champion Auburn 38-24 last week to end their 17-game winning streak.
The Seminoles could be without the services of quarterback EJ Manuel in this game, Manuel suffered a sprain to his left (non-throwing) shoulder last week against OU. Receiver Jarred “Scooter” Haggins will be out for sure with a broken left hand, and receiver Kenny Shaw’s status is uncertain after leaving the game last week following a helmet-to-helmet hit. All of these injuries left FSU with just four healthy scholarship receivers in practice this week, so that will be something to watch for in the passing game. The loss of Manuel would be significant for an FSU offense that ranks 13th in the nation with 325.3 yards per game through the air, freshman Clint Trickett, who threw a 56-yard TD pass in the second half against OU last week would start in Manuel’s place. Clemson’s QB Tajh Boyd had a huge game against Auburn, throwing for 386 yards and 4 TDs on 30 of 42 attempts (71.4%) with freshman receiver Sammy Watkins catching 10 passes for 155 yards and 2 TDs. The Tiger’s offense ranks 9th nationally with 52.7 YPG of total offense and has averaged 38.7 PPG.
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Florida St. vs. Clemson Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Florida St. Seminoles +2.5
@Clemson Tigers -2.5
Over 50 (-110)
Under 50 (-110)
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Florida St. vs. Clemson Pick:
The Tigers have won four of the last six meetings against the Seminoles (with FSU dropping the last four in Death Valley), but they lost to FSU by a score of 16-13 last season in Tallahassee. The under is 6-2 in FSU’s last 8 games overall and the over is 14-5 in their last 19 games as an underdog. The home team is 11-2 ATS in the last 13 head-to-head meetings between the two teams.
Clemson is on a roll offensively and will come into this game with a great deal of confidence after knocking off Auburn last week. FSU will be bringing in a battered team to a tough road environment where they have struggled in the past, and even if Manuel plays he will likely be hampered by his injured shoulder. With a defense that ranks 96th in the nation in total yards per game allowed with 419 and has been shredded by strong running teams with 224.7 YPG allowed on the ground, Clemson will not be as vulnerable against an FSU offense that ranks 100th among FBS teams in rushing with an average of 96.3 YPG on the ground and has been held back by a back injury to last season’s leading rusher Chris Thompson. It is tempting to take the over in this game as Clemson’s defense has not shut down anyone this season, but with FSU so banged up on offense and the Seminole defense ranking in the top 10 nationally in YPG allowed and pass YPG allowed, the safer pick is to take the Tigers to cover the 2.5 point line at home. Look for Clemson to make it five straight over the ‘Noles in Death Valley this Saturday.