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Paws up, paws down: Clemson loses heartbreaker to FSU

Ashleigh Snyder
Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik (2) celebrates with running back Will Shipley (1) after Shipley scored a touchdown against Florida State in Memorial Stadium on Sept. 23, 2023.

The Clemson Tigers fell to No. 4 Florida State in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday, losing 31-24 in overtime. Here are the ups and downs of the game:

Paws down: Late-game mishaps

Clemson had all of the momentum heading into the final two minutes of the game. However, that momentum quickly shifted in the Seminles’ favor. In his first career start, Clemson kicker Jonathan Weitz missed a 29-yard field goal attempt with one minute and 45 seconds left in the game. While the miss didn’t lead to Florida State scoring, it ultimately set up an overtime period that might’ve been avoided had Weitz made the kick.

Overtime did not go to plan for the Tigers either, as they allowed Florida State to score on the first possession of overtime. When the Tigers got possession, they were able to successfully move the ball until a bubble screen on third down led to a loss of one yard. And on fourth down, quarterback Cade Klubnik overthrew wide receiver Beaux Collins, leading to Florida State securing the win.

Paws up: Outside of a few plays, Tigers’ offense looked sharp

Despite having a few mishaps in the game, the Clemson offense looked like a well-oiled machine when it had the ball. The Tigers had 429 total yards on the day compared to Florida State’s 311.

Klubnik had a strong showing, throwing for 283 yards and one touchdown and rushing for a score. Clemson’s rushing game continues to be one of the team’s highlights, as the Tigers rushed for 146 yards. Running backs Phil Mafah and Will Shipley combined for 136 yards, with Shipley scoring a touchdown on the ground. Shipley also caught a touchdown pass and had 38 receiving yards.

Freshman wide receiver Tyler Brown led the Tigers in receiving yards with 84 yards on five receptions. Wide receiver Troy Stellato also stepped up with 41 yards on four receptions, three of which gave the Tigers a first down.

Paws up: The front seven

Clemson’s front seven had consistently been one of the best parts of the team, and it continued its fantastic play on Saturday. The Tigers held the Seminoles to just 22 rushing yards on the day while also forcing four punts and a turnover on downs in the second half.

The Tigers had five tackles for loss, with 4.5 of them being from players on the front seven. Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and defensive end Xavier Thomas added had one sack each and showcased how dominant the Clemson front seven can be. In total, the Tigers had three quarterback hits and were consistently able to put pressure on the Seminoles.

Paws Down: College Football Playoff now out of reach

After Clemson’s disappointing start to the season, the Tigers bounced back with back-to-back home wins. However, with the loss to Florida State, Clemson is in unfamiliar territory.

Throughout the College Football Playoff era, Clemson has been a juggernaut and has won two national championships, but it’s now almost certain that the Tigers will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season, as a two-loss team has never made the playoffs.

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About the Contributors
Luke Beard, Asst. Sports Editor
Ashleigh Snyder, Photo Editor
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