CLEMSON, S.C.-After an offseason filled with hype and expectations, No. 11 Florida State now must mull over a 2-2 start during its bye week after losing 35-30 at No. 21 Clemson on Saturday.
The Seminoles had a chance in the final minutes of the game after a fourth down stop on their own 23-yard line with less than three minutes left.
Redshirt freshman Clint Trickett, filling in for an injured EJ Manuel, moved the ball to his own 37 on the potential game-winning drive. But on fourth-and-4, FSU hurt itself again with a false start penalty pushing them back to the 43-yard line. It was 11th penalty of the day.
On fourth-and-9 with just under two minutes left, Trickett was sacked and the Tigers were able to run the clock out and defeat FSU at home for the fifth straight time.
"We were our own worst enemy a lot of times today," head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Leaving it on the field with penalties and not getting off the field on third-and-long."
Clemson was 9-of-17 on third down for the game and had conversions of 11 (15 yard penalty), 10 (12 yard pass), and 10 yards (34 yard pass).
"That really was the major problem," middle linebacker Vince Williams said after the game." Just converting on third down, whether it was going for home runs or converting on those were our big issues (Saturday)."
In the first quarter, Clemson jumped out to a 14-3 lead on scoring drives of 80 and 77 yards on its first two possessions.
Trickett responded just before the end of the first quarter as he connected with Rodney Smith for a 57-yard score on third-and-10. Clemson extended its lead to 21-10 at the half on 12-yard touchdown pass from Tajh Boyd to Dwayne Allen early in the second quarter.
The Seminoles got off to great start in the second half as Boyd was pressured by Christian Jones and tried to throw the ball away on his way to the ground, instead it was intercepted by defensive end Bjoern Werner. Werner returned the ball 25 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-17.
FSU seemed in control of the momentum of the game forcing a Tigers' punt on the ensuing drive, but the offense was unable to come away with points despite a 41-yard reception by Smith.
The Tigers then went on an 11-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that was kept alive on a 15-yard facemask penalty by FSU to make it 28-17.
Trickett and the offense responded again as he capped off an 80-yard scoring drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene. The true freshman finished the game with eight catches for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Once again though, FSU was unable to seize control of the game's momentum. Boyd connected with Sammy Watkins for a 62-yard score. Watkins, also a true freshman, finished the game with eight catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Boyd finished the game 23-of-37 for 344 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 31 yards and another touchdown.
After exchanging punts, Trickett again gave FSU a chance to win capping off a four-play 78-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Shaw to make it 35-30.
In his first career start Trickett was solid, going 24-of-38 passing for 336 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
"Clint did an excellent job of managing the game and trying to bring us back," Fisher said. "He had some nice plays, we're 2-2 and the off week probably comes at a good time for us to take a good hard, deep look at ourselves."