Skip to main content
Publish date:

Monday Mailbag: Clemson, Travis Jay, and tiny lions

We answer questions ahead of Florida State's huge game this weekend.

Another Monday, another mailbag. This one feels a little more important than the last couple of weeks with a date in Death Valley with Clemson on the docket. Florida State has come away victorious in three straight games, including a 59-3 thrashing of Massachusetts in which the contest was over by the second quarter. It was the type of performance the Seminoles needed as they prepare to face an opponent that they've lost to five straight times. 

READ MORE: FSU's Odell Haggins and Mike Norvell deliver some hard coaching

Clemson may not be playing up to the standard its set for itself over the past half decade, but the Tigers are still a formidable opponent, particularly at home. They've won a school-record 31 straight games inside Death Valley, not dropping a game in that building since 2016. Florida State's defense will need to limit a Clemson offense that has been a massive disappointment while its own offense has to produce against a solid defense. 

The Tigers haven't scored more than 21 points against an FBS opponent in 2021. I think this one comes down to who can get to 20 first.

Let's check out the mailbag for this week.

Should we stick to the run game and JT throwing 15 or less vs Clemson? - Michael Carpenter

Absolutely, the running game was the main reason Florida State won against North Carolina and it was dominant this past weekend. Over the past two games, the Seminoles have ran the ball 41 times to 13 passes and 45 times to 15 passes. The mentality has gone from trying to be more balanced to going into a power running attack.

It's clear that the coaching staff is focused on playing to the strengths of this team. They've figured out the rotations and the play-calling while cutting down on penalities and turnovers. I think you've got to continue to ride the legs of Jordan Travis, Jashuan Corbin, and Treshaun Ward until the wheels fall off.

Do you think the initial 10 point spread in favor of Clemson is deserved considering the struggles Clemson has had this year and the way Florida State has been playing for the last three games? - Dakota Buttitta

It was a little higher than I expected coming into the game, I was guessing between 8.5-9.5 points. These two teams seem to be going in opposite directions but Clemson is a different animal at home. 

The oddsmakers are likely basing this off of the Tigers winning 31-straight at home and Florida State struggling on the road over the last couple of years.

Who do you believe will get the start at QB Taisun or DJ? - @marvswaflehouse

I feel like Clemson will stick with DJ Uiagalelei. Yes, he's struggled and been disappointing but Taisun Phommachanh couldn't get anything going against Pittsburgh either.

READ MORE: Florida State Seminoles release depth chart for Clemson Tigers

Also, what's up with Clemson and these quarterbacks with hard to pronounce names? I struggle enough as is.

Will Jordan Travis be able to throw for over 200 yards against Clemson? If not can FSU still win? - @jheym71

It's a stretch. Jordan Travis hasn't thrown for more 145 yards all season, which came on 13 passing attempts in the win over North Carolina. Earlier in October, Travis attempted 32 passes that resulted in just 131 yards.

During the three-game winning streak, the Florida native is averaging 133 passing yards per game and has thrown five touchdowns to just one interception. The lone turnover came on a screen where Cam McDonald missed a block. 

I think you've got to have a very similar gameplan to what the Seminoles did against North Carolina. Run the ball early and often, use play-action to get Jordan Travis out of the pocket where he can make a decision to throw or tuck it, and control the clock. It's not going to be as successful as it was against the Tarheels, it just has to be enough.

What's your score prediction for next weekend? - @j.grant_97

Call me a maniac but I'm leaning towards picking Florida State in this game. The more I watch Clemson, the more I believe the Seminoles can pull off what seemed impossible two months ago. I wrote it earlier but these are two teams that are going in difference directions.

No image description

READ MORE: ESPN projects Florida State's chances to make a bowl game

The Seminoles have won three straight games, the last two in dominating fashion, while the Tigers are 2-2 in their last four. That includes the loss to Pittsburgh last week. If FSU can start out hot, Clemson may begin to question itself.

Will Travis Jay remain the kick returner? @david_driggs05

I hope not. Outside of his big return against North Carolina, Travis Jay has been a disappointment this year. He's been taken advantage of in coverage and has struggled to field kicks. During the win last weekend, Jay fumbled on the opening kickoff, which resulted in Massachusetts getting its only points of the day.

He's also fielded multiple punts inside of the ten. The athleticism is there but Jay needs to continue improving his awareness of the situation. 

You think we can get any LSU commitments to flip? - @joe_figari

There is definitely a shot with the chaos that's going on in Baton Rouge. I wrote about five LSU commits that Florida State should try to flip last week.

Favorite moment from the game? - @calebatkinson24

There were so many to take away from the win over Massachussetts such as Jarvis Brownlee's pick-six or Florida State having five different rushers score a touchdown but I'm going to go with Chubba Purdy.

READ MORE: Three thoughts on Florida State's blowout victory over UMass

In his first game action in nearly a year, Purdy made what would've been a boring second half pretty interesting to watch. He went 5/5 for 98 yards and two touchdown passes while also running once for five yards. Purdy looked comfortable in the pocket and he settled in to deliver a few nice throws. One was a deep shot to Andrew Parchment that went for 38 yards.

Even better was the reason Purdy was out on the field. McKenzie Milton personally expressed to the staff that he wanted the young quarterbacks to get some playing time. That kind of selflessness is what makes teams great.

Can FSU beat NC State considering that they lost to Miami? - @seminoleupdates

I'm feeling better about this game each week, especially since it's in Tallahassee. NC State is undefeated at home but just 1-2 on the road with a 24-10 loss to Mississippi State and a 31-30 defeat to Miami last weekend. They did handle Boston College but the Eagles are down their starting quarterback. 

The Wolfpack are averaging 24.6 points per game on the road compared to 37.75 points per game at home. There's been a clear drop off in performance away from Raleigh.

Would you rather fight 100 ant-sized lions or 1 lion-sized ant? - @ashtonmiles33

The average size of an ant is 0.75 to 52 millimeters or 1.96 inches at the max. C'mon man.

This would be a harder question if we're talking duck-sized. I'm going 100 ant-sized lions any day and I will stomp on every single one of them. A lion-sized ant would be a formidable opponent and probably eat me.

What's next for the Florida State Seminoles? Join thousands and don't miss out on any breaking news or recruiting latest by signing up for our FREE newsletter that will have breaking news sent straight to your email inbox!

Follow Dustin Lewis on Twitter

Follow NoleGameday on Twitter and Facebook