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Early Preview – Florida State

Posted by cuorange on July 27, 2009

Game 9 – November 7, 2009 – Death Valley, Clemson, SC

Record O St Rtng Pts/Gm O Yds/Gm O D St Rtng Pts/Gm D Yds/Gm D
9-4 8 33.4 372 5 20.2 295

Very big game for the Tigers if they hope to remain in the ACC hunt and it’s a game Clemson should win.  The game is in Clemson and the talent level is comparable, with a slight edge to FSU.

Junior Christian Ponder returns after throwing for 2,006 yards and 14 TDs last year.  His 13 interceptions have to worry the coaching staff, but considering it was his first year starting, the chances for improvement seem pretty good.

The Noles lost their top rusher (Anton Smith, 792 Yds, 15 TDs) and the lead blocker in FB Joe Surratt.  This group will probably be a notch or two lower than last years, but Ponder is also a capable runner (423 Yds, 4 TDs).

The talent at WR is not where it was in the old days under Bobby Bowden.  Taiwan Easterling (30 Rec) and Bert Reed (23 Rec) figure to be the top threats, but this group will not be as potent as ’08.

The OL was the shining star of the ’08 team despite being inexperienced.  This very well may be the best offensive line in the ACC and is definitely the strength of the team.

The defensive line takes some serious hits.  Gone are Everette Brown, Neefy Moffett, Benjamin Lampkin and Paul Griffin.  The replacements have potential, but figure to be inexperienced and not quite as good as last year.

The top 2 tacklers are lost from the linebacker position and this will also be an inexperienced, though talented, group.

The Noles lose 6 heavy contributors from the defensive secondary, including Myron Rolle.  The replacements are talented, if inexperienced and should improve as the season moves on.

The Skinny: Clemson has done well against FSU in recent history winning 4 of the last 6.  The home team has also won 7 of the last 9 in the series.  That said, the Seminoles can match the Tigers speed and have a superior offensive line. 

Early Conclusion:  I give FSU the advantage on the offensive line and Clemson the edge on the defensive line.  A subtle nuance here is the existence of Kevin Steele on the Clemson sideline as DC.  Slight slight edge to Clemson.

While the lines cancel each other out, Clemson has better skill players (except QB), offensive backs, linebackers and probably secondary players.  FSU gets the advantage at QB.  The FSU defense is vulnerable.  Clemson is at home.

Clemson 27 Florida State 24 

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