TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — From the 1:51 mark of the second quarter, to the 14:41 mark of the third, No. 4 Clemson outscored Florida State 17-0 and took complete control of the game in a 34-28 victory.
It all started when B.T. Potter made a 47-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 17-14 lead. On the Seminoles’ next possession, Myles Murphy stripped the ball from quarterback Jordan Travis, which defensive tackle Tyler Davis recovered at the FSU 42.
On the next play, running back Will Shipley broke off a 36-yard run to the Seminoles’ six and a play later quarterback DJ Uiagalelei ran off the right side for a five-yard touchdown with 19 seconds to play in the half.
“How we ended the first half, and we started the second half was really, really good,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “That was 17-0 in the middle eight there, if you will. That was another good night for us.”
Leading 24-14 to start the second half, Shipley, who had career-high 238 all-purpose yards, took the opening kick 69 yards to the FSU 31. On the very next play, offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter called a reverse flea-flicker in which he handed the ball to running back Phil Mafah, who flipped it to Antonio Williams, who flipped it back to Uiagalelei, who threw to a wide-open Davis Allen streaking down the far sideline for an easy touchdown.
The touchdown, Uiagalelei’s fourth of the night, gave the Tigers a 31-14 lead.
“We talked about how important those plays are (in the middle eight),” Streeter said. “You can really create momentum going into halftime. That is what we were able to do is create momentum and to be able to come out at halftime, that was a great special teams play by Shipley on the kickoff return and then a big play by Davis Allen and DJ connecting there on the sideline.
“The confidence our guys have in those areas of the game, as far as the tone, we are doing a great job there. So, I think our confidence is getting better and better.”
As for the trick play, Swinney said they have had that in the playbook all season, but they have not had the right opportunity to run it.
“We talked about it at halftime, and we felt if we were in the right situation, it could hit,” he said.
Shipley set up the right situation with the long kick return, and then Streeter called it.
“I told them earlier I was sick of practicing that play. I was ready to shoot that play and make it work,” Streeter said. “Those guys did an awesome job. It worked out exactly how we were hoping it would, and man was it fun to see.”
—photo courtesy of Clemson Athletic Communications