Doak Cambell Stadium was rocking early on Saturday night. Clemson received the opening kick and the Florida State defense made its way out for its first test of the season.
Lonnie Pryor put FSU's first points of the evening on the board.
Everything got quiet really fast, when Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd connected with DeAndre Hopkins for 60 yards and the first strike of the game, giving Clemson an early 7-0 lead.
The FSU offense would respond with a methodical drive led by EJ Manuel, capped off with a 13 yard rushing touchdown from fullback Lonnie Pryor. Manuel connected with Rodney Smith for 19 yards to open the drive and would also break free for a 28 yard rush to set up the Seminoles at the Clemson 13.
The Tigers marched right back down the field, but FSU contained Boyd on a quarterback-keeper to force the Tigers to face a 4th and short. After initially appearing to settle for a field goal, Clemson went for the fake and ultimately had enough for a first down after a questionable ball spot.
The Tigers would score a few plays later, as running back Andre Ellington racked up his first score of the game on the ground.
In hopes of answering once again, FSU's offense somewhat stalled on the second time around. Kicker Dustin Hopkins was brought on to attempt a 44 yard field goal, but missed on his first long opportunity of 2012.
With its back against the wall for the first time on the year, the FSU defense answered. After back to back sacks from Tank Carradine, the Tigers were forced to punt it away.
The next FSU drive was defined by two plays -- a 41 yard, ankle-breaking run from Chris Thompson and a 20 yard pass to Nick O'Leary. James Wilder finished the drive off, bulldozing his way into the end zone to tie up the contest.
However, after another stop from the Seminole defense, Rashad Greene would muff the Tigers' punt, setting up the Tigers with a golden opportunity at the FSU 31.
Clemson would in fact taking advantage, taking a 21-14 lead on a Boyd touchdown pass to Brandon Ford.
FSU's offense would struggle to find complete consistency again, as their final two drives in the half resulted in a punt and then a 36 yard field goal attempt. Hopkins missed his second opportunity of the night.
FSU came out of the gates in the second half a little slow, as the Seminoles were forced to punt on its first drive.
Clemson would then complete a double pass, with Watkins tossing a 52 yard bomb to Ellington for a strike to put the Tigers up by two scores, 28-14.
However, FSU answered quickly on the following drive, with the marquee moment being a 64 yard gain off a reverse by Kelvin Benjamin. The 6-foot-6 receiver displayed his athleticism, making a few Clemson defenders miss and making his way to the sidelines before being pushed out.
Thompson finished off the drive with a nine yard score off the option.
Trailing 28-21, the Seminole defense looked to make a stop to put FSU in position to tie up the game.
The Tigers had other plans, as they drove for 4:41, going 75 yards on three plays. Boyd would take it into the painted grass for six.
The Seminoles came right back at the Tigers, taking nine plays and 3:16 off the clock to score once again to pull themselves within three, 31-28.
After forcing the Tigers to punt on the next drive, FSU took the lead for the first time of the night - 35-31 - on a 29 yard touchdown pass from Manuel to Rodney Smith.
From there, the Seminoles seemingly didn't look back adding touchdowns from James Wilder and Chris Thompson. Clemson would tack on one more touchdown in the final minutes, but the Seminoles dispatched the Tigers 49-37.
EJ Manuel set a career-high in passing yards with 380 yards on 27-for-35 passing. He threw for two touchdowns. He also found success on the ground rushing for 102 yards on 12 rushes.
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