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Clemson to take on No. 4 Florida State in high-stakes matchup

Saturdays+matchup+against+No.+4+Florida+State+will+be+sophomore+quarterback+Cade+Klubniks+biggest+test+yet+this+season.
Toby Corriston
Saturday’s matchup against No. 4 Florida State will be sophomore quarterback Cade Klubnik’s biggest test yet this season.

In a high-profile and high-stakes matchup, Clemson will welcome the No. 4 Florida State Seminoles to Death Valley this Saturday.

Florida State is the most formidable opponent the Tigers have faced thus far, and possibly for the duration of the season. Although they are coming off a narrow win over Boston College last week, the Seminoles have been dominant on both sides of the ball. They are currently sitting seventh in the nation for scoring offense with 47.3 points per game while holding their opponents to an average of 22.0.

Vying for their first conference win of the season, head coach Dabo Swinney and the Tigers know they have a tall task ahead of them.

“You’ve got two great teams, two great programs and a rivalry game early in the season. So this is Clemson-Florida State at its best right here for sure,” Swinney said on Tuesday. “This is a great football team we’re getting ready to play. Every sense of the word.”

Senior quarterback Jordan Travis has played a large part in the Seminoles’ high-scoring offense, as he brings the triple threat of rushing, passing and experience. The sixth-year signal-caller has thrown for 729 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception this season. Travis is known for his ability to scramble out of the pocket and extend plays, a skill that his pass-catchers have taken advantage of this season.

The Seminoles’ receiver room is intimidating. Led by junior Johnny Wilson, who has 11 receptions for 209 yards, the wide receiver core is what solidifies Florida State’s offense as a downfield threat. Behind Wilson is Michigan State transfer Keon Coleman, and although Coleman is only in his first season at Florida State, he has already earned himself a starting role. He currently leads the team in receiving touchdowns with four and has 12 receptions for 170 yards.

Matching up against Wilson and Coleman will be the Tigers’ secondary. Cornerbacks Sheridan Jones and Nate Wiggins are slated to start. The duo has a combined nine tackles, and Wiggins is coming off last week’s game against FAU, when he had a pick-six. Meanwhile, nickelback Andrew Mukuba could return from injury this week after sitting out the past two games, as Swinney says he is still “day-to-day.”

The double-headed monster in the Tigers’ linebacker room looks like it has grown another mouth. Juniors Barrett Carter and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. had already earned praise as the best linebacker duo in the ACC coming into the season. However, the development of sophomore Wade Woodaz has only further solidified the ability of their unit.

Meanwhile, Clemson’s offensive line will have its work cut out to keep quarterback Cade Klubnik out of harm’s way. Florida State linebacker Kalen DeLoach leads the team with 2.5 sacks and is second in overall tackles with 10, as part of a defensive unit that has already accumulated eight sacks in three games.

For his part, Swinney believes Klubik is making fast progress in his ability to scramble.

“He can really, really run. He’s a problem. But I thought this was his best game from that standpoint,” Swinney said after the FAU game. “He did a poor job the first game. There were several times in that first game that instead of 3-and-10, it could have been a first down or 3rd-and-3. Then he got a little better last week, especially after the first quarter. And then tonight was outstanding.”

As for the special teams, Swinney welcomed back graduate kicker Jonathan Weitz on Tuesday following another disappointing show from sophomore Robert Gunn III.

“Hopefully, he’ll be ready, but we gotta have a change there. It’s just where we are, and we’ll see what happens.”

Clemson has won the last seven meetings against the Seminoles and will go for eight in a row at noon on Saturday.

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About the Contributors
Grace O'Donnell, Sports Editor
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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