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Clemson 23, Florida State 13: Absorb early shots, then pull away for a unanimous decision

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Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

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Top 5 Plays

Play.Number

Offense

Down

Distance

Spot

Quarter

Play_Description

Pred

WPA

1

115

Clemson

3

2

38

3

Deshaun Watson Pass to Deon Cain for 38, TOUCHDOWN

0.474

0.169

2

174

Florida State

4

1

40

4

Dalvin Cook Rush for 0

0.675

0.125

3

86

Florida State

4

27

75

2

PUNT

0.410

-0.118

4

170

Clemson

5

0

0

4

KICKOFF

0.735

-0.115

5

13

Florida State

2

10

77

1

Dalvin Cook Rush for 36, FIRST DOWN

0.371

-0.105

Clemson 23, Florida State 13

Confused? Visit the Advanced Stats glossary here.

Basics Clemson Florida State Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 85 59
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 100.0%
Avg Starting FP 22.8 27.2 29.7
Possessions 13 13
Scoring Opportunities*
6 5
Points Per Opportunity 3.83 2.60 4.75
Leverage Rate** 71.8% 62.7% 68.1%
Close S&P*** 0.591 0.572 0.586
* A scoring opportunity occurs when an offense gets a first down inside the opponent's 40 (or scores from outside the 40).
** Leverage Rate = Standard Downs / (Standard Downs + Passing Downs)
*** When using IsoPPP, the S&P formula is (0.8*Success Rate) + (0.2*IsoPPP)
EqPts (what's this?) Clemson Florida State
Total 45.0 29.9
Rushing 19.4 18.6
Passing 25.5 11.2
Success Rate (what's this?) Clemson Florida State Nat'l Avg
All (close) 43.5% 32.2% 41.6%
Rushing (close) 42.5% 35.7% 42.5%
Passing (close) 44.4% 29.0% 40.7%
Standard Downs 45.9% 29.7% 46.9%
Passing Downs 37.5% 36.4% 30.5%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Clemson Florida State Nat'l Avg
All (close) 1.22 1.57 1.27
Rushing (close) 1.14 1.86 1.07
Passing (close) 1.28 1.25 1.48
Standard Downs 1.19 1.04 1.11
Passing Downs 1.31 2.31 1.77
Line Stats Clemson Florida State Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 3.60 2.94 2.87
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 3.3% 5.9% 4.9%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 6.7% 7.1% 7.5%
Turnovers Clemson Florida State
Turnovers 0 2
Turnover Points (what's this?) 0.0 7.7
Turnover Margin Clemson +2
Exp. TO Margin +0
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Clemson +2
TO Points Margin Clemson +7.7 points
Situational Clemson Florida State
Q1 S&P 0.438 0.950
Q2 S&P 0.602 0.469
Q3 S&P 0.686 0.569
Q4 S&P 0.652 0.431
1st Down S&P 0.566 0.597
2nd Down S&P 0.637 0.497
3rd Down S&P 0.507 0.705
Projected Scoring Margin: Clemson by 22.8
Actual Scoring Margin: Clemson by 10

The best teams make game boring. Sure, there was nothing boring about the Clemson-Notre Dame finish, but since that point, when the computers (and, eventually, CFB committee members) began to really, really like the Tigers, they've given minimal room for doubt.

FSU looked awfully good early on in this game. Dalvin Cook was Dalvin Cook, and aside from one bad pass from Sean Maguire (which was picked off), FSU's offense was nearly perfect early on. But Clemson's defense adjusted in the second quarter. And then the offense found its way in the third. And that was pretty much that. FSU was able to hang around for a while, but Clemson calmly eased ahead and put the game away. And as the projected scoring margin sugggests, it was closer to being a bigger CU victory than it was an FSU upset.

Hell of a job, Dabo Swinney.