It was never going to be pretty. It was going to be hard, and Clemson darn near pulled it off. Unfortunately the Tigers didn't have enough as they fell to Florida State 23-17 in overtime. It was a game that can best be described as a missed opportunity for Clemson. They had 3-4 excellent chances to score and couldn't put it in the end zone. The problems were only compounded by atrocious placekicking from the Tigers. If one of those kicks goes in Clemson wins. We have to be more efficient in the red zone if we want to play big boy football it. Same with converting on 3rd down. We were 5-16 on 3rd down and that may be the biggest indication of why we lost.
And make no mistake, this was not Florida State winning. This game is entirely on the Clemson Tigers. Even with 2 minutes left Clemson had a golden opportunity to at least get 3 points and they fumbled it away. These are the worst games to lose because we all know Clemson should have won.We outgained FSU and had more opportunities. It is absolute atrocious.
That said I think full credit has to go to this Clemson defense. Outside of 1 play, which only happened because Alexander slipped, Clemson dominated Floria State. They allowed 1 TD and 1 FG besides that play. Against the reigning national champions that is fantastic. Even with Jameis Winston missing FSU should not have played this poorly. Their offensive line was dominated by a Clemson DL that proved they are the best in the nation. The secondary did a fantastic job bottling up Mr. Green and Mr. O'Leary. Venables earned his paycheck tonight. Even after a TD drive to start the second half Venables made some adjustments to shut down FSU and kill any momentum.
I'm also going to call out Chad Morris here. Now I'm not sure how much of his playcalling is because of Watson's incomplete knowledge of the playbook, but there wasn't a lot of creativity. This team needs to at least try to attack the middle of the field with the passing game. Watson was willing to try it several times to great effect and it needs to happen more. Hopefully this changes as Watson gets more experience.
And speaking of Watson, we now have a new starting QB. There is no way Dabo can justify continuing to start Cole and I do have to give him credit for making the decision early in this game. He gave Cole a chance but then when he saw the success we were have with Watson he didn't hesitate. That can only bode well for us.
As for Watson, he answered the question of handling the pressure tonight. Though he wasn't able to lead us to a win he was calm and collected. I want to say he only had 2 bad throws and even then they weren't terrible, just not the best decision. He can make the throws and the decisions. The future has finally arrived and I can't wait to see how the rest of the season goes.
Oh and the kicking, I'm sorry but we need to try a change. That stuff won't fly any more.