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Florida State escapes Clemson 23-17 in overtime: Seminoles survive without Jameis Winston.

By Andy Staples
September 21, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State’s defense stuffed Clemson when it absolutely had to, and Karlos Williams ran for a 12-yard touchdown to lift the Seminoles to a 23-17 overtime win that may have saved the Seminoles’ national title hopes. The ‘Noles won without quarterback Jameis Winston, who was suspended after shouting sexual obscenities while repeating an Internet meme on campus Tuesday. This matchup wasn’t pretty, but Florida State survived.

1. No Winston, some problems

The Seminoles escaped without the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but they showed some flaws that could come back to haunt them later in the season. The offensive line didn’t dominate the Tigers the way it did last October, and the defensive line got pushed around it ways it never did last fall.

Fortunately for Florida State, its defensive line came up huge late. Eddie Goldman stripped Clemson’s C.J. Davidson in the waning moments when the Tigers appeared headed toward an easy game-winning field goal. That allowed the Seminoles to force overtime and allowed backup quarterback Sean Maguire another chance after he threw a crippling interception with 2:14 remaining. In overtime, the Tigers handed to Adam Choice on fourth-and-inches. Goldman blew up the play, and Chris Casher and Reggie Northrup tackled Choice for a loss.

Florida State’s ground game, which produced -12 yards (including sacks) in regulation, came alive in overtime. The Seminoles ran Williams twice, covering the 25 yards they needed to save their ACC Atlantic Division title chances, their league title hopes and keep them alive in the race for the College Football Playoff.

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2. Does this count as Clemsoning?

The Tigers were on the road against the No. 1 team in the country, but it certainly felt as if they gave a win away. Even before Goldman stripped Davidson as the Tigers drove for what should have been the game-winning field goal, Clemson had left as many as 14 points on the field thanks to miscues, early and late. On the Tigers’ second series, quarterback Cole Stoudt underthrew tight end Jordan Leggett, who had a wide-open path to the end zone. On the next play, kicker Ammon Lakip missed a 23-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Late in the third quarter, the Tigers had second-and-goal inside the one-yard line when center Ryan Norton sailed a snap over Watson’s head. When the passer fell on the ball, the Tigers faced third-and-goal from the 24. Two plays later, Lakip missed a 40-yard field goal.

3. Dressed to regress

Winston emerged from the locker room in full uniform and began going through warmups with his teammates. After an animated discussion with a clearly exasperated Fisher, Winston ran back into the locker room and emerged wearing a jersey and track pants. Winston, who said on Wednesday that he needed to “tone it down,” wound up drawing more attention to himself and away from his team.

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