clear
Saturday November 25th, 2017 4:40AM

No. 4 Clemson wins ACC Atlantic with 31-14 victory over FSU

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Travis Etienne always dreamed of helping his team win a title. It didn't take very long for the freshman to turn that dream into reality at Clemson.

Etienne ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns to lead the fourth-ranked Tigers to a 31-14 victory over Florida State that clinched the team's third straight ACC Atlantic Division title and a trip to the league championship game.

"We get a chance to go to Charlotte and play for the ACC championship," Etienne said. "To win a ring, when the stakes are the highest, is great."

Clemson might have missed out on that opportunity without Etienne, a gangly looking, 5-foot-10 back who picked the school late in last winter's recruiting cycle when most figured the Louisiana native was headed for LSU.

He has nine touchdowns this season, second behind quarterback Kelly Bryant's 10. Against the Seminoles' staunch defense, Etienne made his biggest runs following Van Smith's key fourth -quarter interception.

Etienne had a 25-yard run to the FSU 5. Two plays later, he burst through for a 1-yard score that made it 24-14 with 3:05 left.

"Look, my guy is smiling," Bryant shouted across the room as Etienne took questions.

There could be a lot more smiling ahead as the Tigers (9-1, 7-1, No. 4 CFP) try for a third straight berth in the College Football Playoff. Their opponent in the ACC final will be No. 7 Miami, which wrapped up the Coastal Division with Virginia's 38-21 loss to Louisville.

Clemson appeared to be in control against Florida State with a 17-0 lead late in the third quarter. But the Seminoles rallied on Jacques Patrick's 3-yard TD run and a double-pitch back, flea-flicker pass from James Blackman that went for a 60-yard score to Ryan Izzo.

Florida State was in position to spoil the celebration at chilly Death Valley when it recovered Bryant's fumble on the Clemson 40 with less than seven minutes left. But Blackman's pass over the middle was intercepted by Smith on the next play, setting up the Tigers' clinching drive.

"The story of the night was definitely the defense and the turnovers," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "Especially that one by Van Smith. And we finally got that drive that we needed" in Etienne's second TD.

Cornerback Trayvon Mullen knocked away Blackman's fourth-down pass with 2:13 left to end the Seminoles' comeback hopes.

It's the fifth time in Swinney's nine full seasons that he has taken the Tigers to the conference title game.

For Florida State (3-6, 3-5), it marked its first losing ACC record since 2006. And the Seminoles' landmark streak of 35 straight bowl games is in jeopardy, too — they have three games left against Delaware State, rival Florida and Louisiana-Monroe.

Bryant finished with 151 yards passing. He also rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown. Adam Choice had a 10-yard TD run with 35 seconds left for Clemson's final score.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said his team will regroup and prepare to build on its second half.

"We usually find a way to win games like these," he said. "We've got to find that again."

THE TAKEAWAY

Florida State: The Seminoles defense can play with anyone and, with just a little offensive help, should be able to keep the team in its remaining games. Florida State rescheduled the game with Louisiana-Monroe, postponed by Hurricane Irma, for Dec. 2 with potential bowl eligibility on the line.

Clemson: The Tigers had another uneven offensive showing with Bryant struggling on longer passes. While Clemson has a defense capable of carrying it to another deep playoff run, it must show more consistency and effectiveness on offense to make it through the more difficult opponents looming in the postseason.

INJURY ISSUE

Clemson played without a pair of key defensive starters in tackle Dexter Lawrence and linebacker Kendall Joseph. Lawrence, a 6-foot-4, 340-pound sophomore, was out with a foot injury. Joseph, the team's second-leading tackler, sustained a leg injury last week against North Carolina State. Cornerback Ryan Carter missed much of the final stretch after he was hit hard on a punt return by Florida State linebacker Emmett Rice. Rice was flagged for targeting.

BREAKING THROUGH

Florida State got its first touchdown in the third quarter this season on Patrick's run. The Seminoles have scored just 16 third-quarter points in nine games.

UP NEXT

Florida State returns home to play Delaware State on Saturday.

Clemson also plays an FCS opponent, taking on Citadel on Saturday.

___

More AP college football: collegefootball.ap.org and twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Sports - College Football
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US cities, states defy Trump, still back Paris climate deal
A group of U.S. states, cities, businesses and universities say they are committed to curbing global warming even as the Trump administration is walking away from the Paris climate accord
7:30PM ( 24 minutes ago )
No. 4 Clemson wins ACC Atlantic with 31-14 victory over FSU
No. 4 Clemson headed back to Atlantic Coast Conference championship game with 31-14 win over Florida State
7:19PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Johnson, No. 10 Auburn knock off No 2 Georgia, 40-17
Kerryon Johnson rushed for 167 yards and caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Stidham and No. 10 Auburn smothered No. 2 Georgia's running game in a 40-17 victory
7:13PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Elliott and Blaney try to bring new faces to NASCAR finale
Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney are both racing Sunday for a spot in NASCAR's championship finale
6:20PM ( 1 hour ago )
Irving has facial fracture; Horford probable for next game
Boston Celtics PG Kyrie Irving doubtful for next game due to broken bone in his face
6:18PM ( 1 hour ago )
No. 11 Ohio State rebounds, routs No. 13 Michigan St 48-3
Tailback Mike Weber rushed for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help No. 11 Ohio State blow out Michigan State 48-3 on Saturday
5:08PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Chiefs DT Miller arrested in Florida on battery charge
Jail records show that Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Roy Miller has been arrested in Florida on a domestic battery charge
1:24PM ( 6 hours ago )
Love's 3 TDs lead Stanford past No. 9 Washington 30-22
Bryce Love rushes for 3 touchdowns as Stanford beats No. 9 Washington 30-22
3:31AM ( 16 hours ago )
Ex-track coach's lawyers to question ex-top Texas officials
Lawyers for a former women's track coach at the University of Texas have scheduled depositions with several former top school officials in her sex and race discrimination lawsuit
4:49PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
Defending champ No. 4 South Carolina opens with 99-31 win
A'ja Wilson scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds to lead No. 4 South Carolina to a 99-31 win over Alabama State
10:15PM ( 21 hours ago )
Buckeyes host Michigan St with Big Ten East up for grabs
No. 11 Ohio State will try to bounce back from its catastrophic loss to Iowa last week when No. 13 Michigan State visits
11:17AM ( 1 day ago )
Week 11 preview: Booking trips to championship weekend
Time to start filling those slots for championship weekend
1:56AM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
No change at top of CFP rankings; Miami poised to make move
Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson keep top 4 spots in CFP rankings; unbeaten Miami moves up to No. 7
1:08AM ( 3 days ago )
Clemson coach: Laptop comments challenge team's integrity
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said the charges of North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren over a laptop spotted on the Tigers' sideline last week are a challenge to the team's integrity
12:35PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Top 25 Heat Check: Meyer's issues show Saban's greatness
After another puzzling loss by Ohio State under Urban Meyer, it becomes most clear just how remarkable what Nick Saban is doing with No. 1 Alabama.
12:30PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - College Football
US cities, states defy Trump, still back Paris climate deal
A group of U.S. states, cities, businesses and universities say they are committed to curbing global warming even as the Trump administration is walking away from the Paris climate accord
7:30PM ( 24 minutes ago )
George Takei, Richard Dreyfuss respond in harassment scandal
George Takei, Richard Dreyfuss latest celebrities swept up in Hollywood sexual harassment, assault scandal
7:25PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Johnson, No. 10 Auburn knock off No 2 Georgia, 40-17
Kerryon Johnson rushed for 167 yards and caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Stidham and No. 10 Auburn smothered No. 2 Georgia's running game in a 40-17 victory
7:13PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Defense carries No. 6 Wisconsin past No. 25 Iowa 38-14
Receiver Kendric Pryor scored twice, and No. 6 Wisconsin relied on stifling defense to overcome four turnovers and Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson's two touchdowns in a 38-14 win over the Hawkeyes
7:06PM ( 47 minutes ago )
The Latest: 2 Texas church shooting victims buried
Procession for couple killed in Texas church shooting avoids going by church
6:50PM ( 1 hour ago )