CLEMSON, S.C. – Jameis Winston and Florida State sucked the life out of Death Valley.
The Seminoles’ remarkable redshirt freshman threw for 444 yards and three touchdowns and No. 5 Florida State crushed No. 3 Clemson 51-14 Saturday night, making a statement that should be heard from Alabama to Oregon.
The Atlantic Coast Conference’s game of the year, billed as maybe the league’s biggest game ever, quickly became a Seminoles’ seminar on how to take apart a top-five opponent on its hostile home turf.
The game started with two Heisman Trophy contender quarterbacks. It ended with one.
Playing in one of the loudest stadiums in the country, Winston was unfazed, going 22 for 34 for Florida State (6-0, 4-0). His first throw was a 22-yard touchdown to Kelvin Benjamin, and he scrambled for a 4-yard touchdown that made it 41-7 with 4:04 left in the third quarter.
Tajh Boyd threw two interceptions for Clemson, and his first-quarter fumble was returned 37 yards for touchdown by Mario Edwards. Clemson (6-1, 4-1) turned it over a season-high four times, the first one on the first play from scrimmage.
Rashad Greene caught eight passes for 146 yards and two scores, including a 72-yard sprint that made it 24-7 Florida State in the second quarter.
The Seminoles broke a five-game losing streak at Memorial Stadium, scored more points than any opponent ever has in Death Valley and gave fourth-year coach Jimbo Fisher his biggest victory since taking over for Bobby Bowden.
Florida State is also perfect through six games for the first time since 1999, the last time Bowden’s ‘Noles won the national championship.
When the first BCS standings of the season come out Sunday, Florida State should be right there with No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon, fighting for the top spots.
As for Clemson, the Tigers can’t be accused of ‘Clemsoning’ this one away. They were simply outclassed.
Florida State tight end Nick O’Leary punctuated the beatdown in the third quarter, running over Clemson’s Travis Blanks as he tried to make a tackle. Seminoles by a knockout. O’Leary finished with five catches for 161
Noles-Tigers marked only the fourth time that the conference better known for basketball has matched two top-five football teams, and the first time since 2005.