CLEMSON, S.C. The Clemson Tigers never gave themselves a chance Saturday against Florida State.
Fumbling on the first play from scrimmage and continuing the trend the rest of the night, the third-ranked Tigers fell 51-14 to the No. 5 Seminoles in what had been the most anticipated game in recent ACC memory.
Instead, it turned into a nightmare for the Tigers, who allowed the most points ever by an opponent in Memorial Stadium.
The victory moved Florida State (6-0, 4-0 ACC) into first place in the Atlantic Division and gave the Seminoles the inside track on a berth in the leagues ACC championship game Dec. 7 in Charlotte.
Clemson (6-1, 4-1) still has a shot at the title game, but will have to hope the Seminoles lose at least two of their final four ACC games since they own the tiebreaker over the Tigers. Next up for Clemson is a game at Maryland next Saturday. The Seminoles are home to N.C. State.
It was the fourth time in league history that teams ranked in the top five nationally had played, and the first time since 2005.
After giving up 667 yards in a 49-37 loss against the Seminoles last season, the Tigers brought an improved defense and a sense that this might be their moment to Saturdays game.
But Clemson fell apart under the lights in Death Valley and it did so quickly. Four turnovers three in the first half were too much for the Tigers to overcome against a Seminoles team led by rising star Jameis Winston, a redshirt freshman quarterback who completed 22 of 34 passes for 444 yards and four touchdowns.
On the first play from scrimmage tight end Stanton Seckinger was hit by Florida States Telvin Smith and fumbled. The Seminoles Terrence Brooks recovered at the Tigers 34. Three plays later, Winston hit Kelvin Benjamin on a 22-yard pass and it was quickly 7-0.
Benjamins touchdown accounted for the first points scored off a turnover against the Clemson this season. The Tigers had entered the game with a 56-0 advantage in that category over its previous six opponents.
The Seminoles went up 10-0 on their next possession when Roberto Aguayo kicked a 28-yard field goal with 4:18 left in the first quarter. It was the first field goal the Tigers have conceded this season.
Then things got worse for Clemson.
The next time the Tigers had the ball, Boyd fumbled after being sacked by Lamarcus Joyner. The ball was scooped up by defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., who took it 37 yards for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
Clemson salvaged something from the first quarter when Boyd hit Watkins on a 3-yard touchdown pass with 51 seconds left. That cut the Seminoles lead to 17-7.
Florida State increased the lead to 24-7 midway through the second quarter when Rashad Greene turned what appeared to be a short completion from Winston into a 72-yard sprint to the end zone.
The Seminoles made it 27-7 at halftime after the Tigers third turnover of the game an interception by Joyner resulted in a 24-yard field goal by Aguayo with three secons left.
Florida State rolled up 312 yards in total offense in the first half.
Florida State didnt let up, scoring early in the third quarter on a 17-yard pass from Winston to Greene to make it 34-7. A 4-yard run by Winston later in the quarter made it 41-7.
The Seminoles played for much of the game without running back James Wilder Jr., who left in the second quarter with a concussion.
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