No. 2 Seminoles Declaw Tigers, 34-3
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Thad Busby threw for career highs of 304 yards and four touchdowns and second-ranked Florida State continued its defensive dominance with a 34-3 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over Clemson.
E.G. Green caught two TD passes and Dee Feaster returned a punt 79 yards for a score for the Seminoles (4-0, 4-0 ACC), who will enter next week's showdown at Miami as the top defensive team in the nation.
"The defense had another good ballgame, but it could have been even better without the (seven) penalties," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "The offense made strides. Our plan was to make our quarterback win the game. I thought Thad did a good job."
Florida State limited Clemson's option attack to 54 yards on 36 carries. The defense had two fumble recoveries, two sacks and one interception and allowed just 3.3 yards per play.
Busby, who threw for just 65 yards last week against North Carolina, bounced back with his best game of the season. He was 16-of-29 and threw TD passes to three different receivers before leaving early in the fourth quarter for redshirt freshman Dan Kendra.
"I knew going into this game that we were going to open the offense up a little bit," Busby said. "This offense will continue to get better with time.
"We still maded some mistakes on offense. We had some stupid penalties and some missed assignments. the key for us in the Miami game is to eliminate those mistakes."
Green had five catches for 156 yards and Warrick Dunn added 96 yards on 13 carries. Dunn and Andre Cooper also had touchdown receptions.
"It was nice to see the big plays return to the offense," said Green, who had the first 100-yard game by an FSU receiver this year. "Everyone in the offense got involved tonight and I think that was the difference."
All four of Florida State's scoring drives were at least 61 yards. Meanwhile, Clemson could get nothing going as it was limited to 4-of-16 on third-down conversions.
Nealon Greene was 15-of-29 for 132 yards for Clemson (2-3, 1-2), which fell to 3-9 in the all-time series and has not beaten FSU since 1989. Raymond Priester, who leads the ACC in rushing, was held to 27 yards on 14 carries.
"We came to win this game," Clemson ccoach Tommy West said. "Not just play good, to win. Our plan was to run, throw blitz and crowd them. We fought as hard as we could fight. When you're playing a team like FSU, you have to make the plays, and we didn't."
Busby hit Green with a 37-yard scoring toss with 4:22 left in the first quarter, giving the Seminoles the lead for good.
The Tigers, shut out in the first quarter against Florida State for the fifth straight time, got a 29-yard field goal by Matt Padgett on the second play of the second quarter. But Busby answered with a 60-yard strike to Green and a 23-yard toss to Dunn less than six minutes apart, giving FSU a 20-3 halftime advantage.
Busby had 259 yards in the first half, surpassing his previous high for an entire game of 251 against North Carolina State.
Cooper hauled in a four-yard TD pass from Busby with 4:52 left in the third quarter, capping a 13-play drive. The Tigers ran three plays and punted and Feaster, who was knocked cold and fumbled on a punt return in the first quarter, took it back for the second time this season.
"The touchdown helped my self-esteem after I got knocked out in the first quarter," Feaster said. "I found the crease and they did a great job of blocking."
Feaster, who returned a punt 59 yards for a score against Duke in the season opener, became just the second FSU player under coach Bobby Bowden to return two punts for TDs in the same season. The other is Terrell Buckley in 1990.
Florida State 34, Clemson 3
1 2 3 4 F - - - - -- Clemson 0 3 0 0 3 Florida St (2) 6 14 14 0 34 FINAL Florida St-Eg Green 37 pass from Busby (kick failed) Clemson-FG Padgett 29 Florida St-Eg Green 60 pass from Busby (Bentley kick) Florida St-Dunn 23 pass from Busby (Bentley kick) Florida St-Cooper 4 pass from Busby (Bentley kick) Florida St-Feaster 79 punt return (Bentley kick) Clemson Florida St First downs 16 19 Rushed-yards 36-54 30-124 Passing yards 182 329 Sacked-yards lost 2-12 2-23 Return yards 16 94 Passes 18-35-1 19-37-1 Punts 6-43.0 10-36.6 Fumbles-lost 4-2 2-2 Penalties-yards 4-39 7-68 Time of possession 33:35 26:25 Individual Statistics RUSHING: Clemson-Priester 18-27, Dunnican 4-16, E Smith 6-14, Zanders 3-10, Luckle 1-minus 6, N Greene 4-minus 7. Florida St-Dunn 13-96, Kendra 4-20, Abdullah 3-10, Preston 1-5, Feaster 3-3, Busby 5-0, Warrick 1-minus 10. PASSING: Clemson-N Greene 15-29-1-132, Luckle 3-6-0-50. Florida St-Busby 16-29-0-304, Kendra 3-8-1-25. RECEIVING: Clemson-Horne 8-90, Woods 4-54, Wofford 3-5, Crooks 1-24, Priester 1-5, Dunnican 1-4. Florida St-Eg Green 5-156, Cooper 5-41, Dunn 3-37, Warrick 2-59, Abdullah 1-29, P Williams 1-7, Dugans 1-5, Preston 1-minus 5. Att: 76,360