After jumping out to a 6-1 record to start their 2010 College Football Season, the Florida State Seminoles had dropped their last two games in the final seconds before their showdown with Clemson on Saturday night. They were a perfect 4-0 in ACC play and controlled their own destiny in heading back to the conference championship game.
But those two losses put the Seminoles hopes of a chance at the ACC championship in jeopardy. They lost to North Carolina State, a team in which they share the Atlantic division lead with and now needed to win out and hope NC State would somehow stumble. A loss to Clemson would be devastating in their quest.
On Saturday night, Dustin Hopkins got a chance to redeem himself after missing the game-winning field goal a week ago and he nailed a 55-yard field goal on the final play of the game to give the Noles a much needed 16-13 win.
FSU (7-3, 5-2) got the win without their starting quarterback Christian Ponder who was out with an elbow injury. Backup EJ Manuel did well in his absence to lead FSU to their win. He finished the game with 210 yards passing along with 71 yards rushing and one touchdown.
The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on Jamie Harper’s 24 yard touchdown run. The Seminoles would respond as Hopkins hit his first of three field goals to cut Clemson’s lead to 7-3. The Tigers would then add a field goal of their own and went into halftime with a 10-3 lead.
FSU would then get the only score of the third quarter when Hopkins nailed his second field goal and the Noles would trail 10-6 heading into the final quarter. Florida State would finally get the lead as Manuel scored on a 8-yard run but Clemson would respond with a field goal to tie the game at 13.
Manuel then showed signs of brilliance on the final drive of the game that gave Hopkins the opportunity to get the win. A pass interference call and an 18-yard pass to Rodney Smith got FSU within field goal range that set up Hopkins game winning field goal.
Clemson gained 391 yards of total offense against a FSU defense that been abused the past two games. Harper rushed for 143 yards in the loss and quarterback Kyle Parker passed for 239 yards. But the Seminole defense held strong all game and held the Tigers to just one touchdown.
Now for Florida State, they need to beat Maryland next weekend and hope that North Carolina State falls in one of their final two ACC matchups. Clemson’s hopes are pretty much gone in the ACC race after their loss on Saturday.