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After an open date and two road games, Clemson will return to Death Valley for the first time in four weeks when the Tigers host the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, Oct. 30. Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET. 

"I am impressed with what Florida State has done," Swinney said. "They have improved. They started out 0-4. I'm impressed with their staff. They had a couple of heartbreaking losses but have played a lot better. Their quarterback has really settled them down. He is a very confident player. He's tough, a natural leader and he makes plays. He can flat out beat you. They are doing a great job schematically. He can just move. He's a great scrambler and has created a lot of explosives. This kid is dangerous. Their running game is leading the nation in rushing in October. They had 11 turnovers in the first four games. The last three? Three turnovers.

"Their defense is playing very well. They gave up some big plays early, but they have gotten better. No. 11 is probably the best defensive end we have seen, a great player. They are huge inside. They have changed what they do structurally over the first few games. A challenging group that is playing with a lot of confidence. They are way better than their record."

Last season saw the Mike Norvell vs. Dabo Swinney duel get off to a rocky start, as the Tigers' game in Tallahassee was canceled due to COVID protocols even though the Tigers were prepared to test before the game.

"We were willing to do whatever was necessary to play while in Tallahassee," Clemson AD Dan Radakovich said following last year's postponement. "We feel we offered additional solutions to make it work."

According to Swinney, the Tigers also took nine extra buses to Tallahassee to account for distancing if their symptomatic player did, in fact, test positive. 



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"This game was not canceled because of COVID. COVID was just an excuse to cancel the game," Swinney said. The Clemson coach said he considers the game a forfeit by Florida State's administration.

"The standard to cancel a game was not met," Swinney said. "A guy testing positive on Friday does not cancel a game. I was on every committee call for months since March and that was never the case."

At the ACC Kickoff in July, both coaches were asked about their relationship after last season's feud of words with Norvell saying he had not spoken to Swinney. A claim that, according to Swinney, was not true.

“We flew in at the same time yesterday. We actually got a cart,” Swinney said. “It is fine. It is totally fine. We have been on the phone together, conference calls together, committed together. Talked to him a bunch of times. I have no issue with him.”

However, all of those feelings are in the past for the 2021 Tiger team that needs two wins in their last five games to become bowl eligible, and is in desperate need of a win and to build confidence.

"Football is tough. It's a tough game," Swinney said. "Sometimes you can have a year where you deal with a lot of craziness. I've never had a year like this where we have had this many injuries. I'm talking about players who are in our rotation and starting. This year has reinforced how hard it is to win, the little things. With us, the margin has been small. It's still right there, though. We have been in a position to win every game. We have an opportunity to learn from the struggle. We are teaching a lot of lessons to players who are going to be back here. It has been a challenge but you have to embrace it."

Clemson still holds the fourth-best odds of winning the ACC, according to FanDuel at +1000.