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Clemson Chokes Against Winston-Less Seminoles

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TIGERS FALL IN OVERTIME IN TALLAHASSEE

Call it another case of “Clemsoning.”  Perhaps the most painful one yet …

With defending Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston sitting on the sidelines serving a one-game suspension for spouting obscenities on campus, No. 22 Clemson had the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles on the ropes late in the fourth quarter in Tallahassee.

After Winston’s backup Sean McGuire threw an interception with two minutes left in the game – one of many mistakes he made in his first collegiate start – the Tigers (1-2, 0-1 ACC) had the football on the Noles’ eighteen-yard-line with the game tied 17-17.

But Clemson coughed up its shot at history, with junior tailback C.J. Davidson fumbling on a second down running play to give the ball back to head coach Jimbo Fisher’s offense.

Without Winston – who threw for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns a year ago – Fisher opted to run out the clock and take his chances in overtime, knowing Clemson was operating at a disadvantage without a reliable placekicker (junior Ammon Lakip missed a pair of field goals during regulation and is only 3 for 9 on the season).

Fisher’s move paid off …

Faced with a fourth-and-one on its first overtime possession, head coach Dabo Swinney opted against sending Lakip out to attempt a field goal.  The result was freshman running back Adam Choice getting stuffed by a Florida State defense that had surrendered more than 400 yards on the night to Clemson’s offense.

Two plays later, Seminoles’ tailback Karlos Williams scampered into the end zone past an exhausted Tiger defense to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to nineteen games.

Clemson outplayed the Winston-less ‘Noles for most of the night – but simply couldn’t capitalize when it mattered.  An errant pass from quarterback Cole Stoudt in the first half and a bad snap to quarterback Deshaun Watson (who replaced Stoudt) killed a pair of red zone possessions – while Lakip’s missed field goals and Davidson’s fumble killed three more.

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