The Seminoles and Tigers will square-off at 3:30 pm on Saturday, November 7. You can listen to the legendary voice of the Seminoles, Gene Deckerhoff, call the action on Live 101.9 FM, with the pregame broadcast starting at 1:30 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A pair of top 20 teams square-off on Saturday afternoon in South Carolina as No. 15 Florida State (7-1, 5-1 ACC) travels to face undefeated and top-ranked Clemson (8-0, 5-0 ACC). Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. inside Memorial Stadium and will air nationally on ABC.
The Seminoles put their finishing touches on Saturday’s game plan against the Tigers Thursday afternoon on the Albert J. Dunlap Practice Fields and are excited to face the No. 1 team in the nation. Florida State has won three straight in the series and four of its last five against the Tigers, while this weekend’s game marks the 11th time that both schools are ranked in the AP top 25 at the time of the meeting and fifth year in a row. FSU is 8-2 in games when both teams are ranked including 4-1 in Clemson.
“Had a real good week; I liked the week of practice we had,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Guys seemed good and energetic (and) confident in what they’re doing. I look forward to going up and competing on the road. Good teams got to go and win on the road. Very tough challenge, Clemson is a heck of a team and I look forward to the opportunity to compete against them.”
The winner of Saturday’s game will also move into the driver’s seat in the race for the ACC Atlantic Division title as either the Seminoles or the Tigers have represented the Atlantic Division in the Dr. Pepper ACC Championship game the last six years. Florida State has won the last three division titles.
Both teams are coming off monster offensive performances as Florida State tallied 575 yards of total offense (221 yards rushing, 354 passing) and Clemson registered 623 yards (240 rushing and 383 passing) leading to a pair of impressive victories.
The Seminoles received some great news on the offensive side of the ball following Thursday’s practice with redshirt junior tailback Mario Pender cleared to play. Pender, who participated in practice the last three days, had appeared in FSU’s first three games tallying 140 rushing yards on 30 carries with a touchdown before missing the next four games due to an injury.
“Pender can play in the game,” said Fisher. “Pender is available. He’s okay.”
Also on the offensive side of the ball, Fisher did not announce a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game but did say that Everett Golson has been cleared to play and that both Golson and Sean Maguire will be available and ready to play come Saturday.
Redshirt senior linebacker Terrance Smith also practiced all week and is expected to play on Saturday. Last year against the Tigers, Smith had a career game recording 13 tackles in FSU’s 23-17 overtime victory. Nile Lawrence-Stample, who suffered a concussion in the Syracuse game, was limited in practice this week and his availability will be a game time decision.
“Terrance, he held up all week and had a really good week,” added Fisher. “Everything I heard is good (regarding Nile Lawrence-Stample). We’ll have to wait until the doctor checks him again. After that everything seemed good. He did some reps. He did a partial practice yesterday.”
With the return of Pender, the Seminoles now have four reliable options in the backfield with sophomore Dalvin Cook (127-1,037-11), true freshman Jacques Patrick (30-174-3) and sophomore Johnathan Vickers (23-111-1).
Aguayo Named Groza Semifinalist
Florida State redshirt junior and two-time All-American kicker Roberto Aguayo was named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award for the third consecutive year on Thursday.
Aguayo, who won the Groza Award in 2013 and was one of three finalists in 2014, has made 13 of 17 field goals in 2015 and all 31 of his extra points. He has made three field goals in a game twice this season (versus Miami and at Georgia Tech) and his booming kickoffs have allowed the Seminoles to field the ACC’s No. 1 and the nation’s No. 6 kick return defense (16.2 yards per kickoff return).
Aguayo has never missed a field goal inside of 40 yards and has connected on an ACC-record 180 consecutive point after attempts. The Mascotte, Fla., native is the most accurate kicker in NCAA history with a .968 success rate (241 of 249). He has made all 180 of his extra points and 61 of 69 field goal attempts.
Dodd Trophy to Celebrate Hall of Fame head coach Bobby Bowden
The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will celebrate legendary coach Bobby Bowden’s 35th year anniversary of winning the national coaching award on November 14 during the Seminoles’ home football game against N.C. State. The presentation will take place on the field between the first and second quarters.
The Dodd Trophy celebrates the head coach of a team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also representing programs with the highest ideals of scholarship, leadership and integrity on and off the field – the three pillars of legendary coach Bobby Dodd’s philosophy.
Coach Bowden was awarded The Dodd Trophy in 1980 after a 10-2 season and a No. 5 final ranking at Florida State. Both losses the Seminoles faced that year came by one-point, including an 18-17 defeat in the Orange Bowl. Furthermore that season, defensive back Keith Jones earned first-team Academic All-American honors while wide receiver Phil Williams was awarded the NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship.
Florida State Injury Report vs. Clemson – Nov. 7, 2015
Out For Game
DE Lorenzo Featherston (concussion)
OL Derrick Kelly (knee)
DB Marcus Lewis (concussion)
OL Cole Minshew (concussion)
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher post-practice quotes – Nov. 5, 2015
“Thursday practice – guys seemed good and energetic (and) confident in what they’re doing. Felt good. Had a real good week. I liked the week of practice we had. I look forward to going up and competing on the road. Good teams got to go and win on the road. Very tough challenge. Clemson is a heck of a team and I look forward to the opportunity to compete against them.”
On what they need to do in order to pull off the upset:
“Come ready to play. Lock into what we do. Don’t have self-inflicted wounds. You’ve got to win the battles up front. The lines of scrimmage. The penalty battles and you’ve got to be able to make big plays. Don’t turn the football over. Create turnovers and don’t turn it over. Make plays and you’ve got to win the one-on-one battles – down the field, at the line of scrimmage, linebacker. When football gets down to an individual team game, you’ve got to win your battle.”
On if freshman tailback Jacques Patrick’s will be a factor on Saturday regardless of sophomore Dalvin Cook’s status:
“No doubt. You’ve got to. He’s earned it and (Johnathan) Vickers too. Those guys have all played good football, so we have to gradually incorporated those guys in and get more reps for them and also take some pressure off Dalvin (Cook).
On redshirt senior linebacker Terrance Smith’s status:
“Terrance, he held up all week and had a really good week.”
On redshirt senior defensive tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample’s week:
“Everything I heard is good. We’ll have to wait until the doctor checks him again. After that everything seemed good. He did some reps. He did a partial practice yesterday.”
On redshirt junior tailback Mario Pender and his progress:
“Actually, good. Pender is ready for the game. Pender can play in the game. Pender is available. He’s okay. They checked his lungs and he’s good. Getting his wind back. He practiced the last three days really hard. He’s good. That guy is resilient. He’s a tough son of a gun. I wouldn’t say yes (to get him back) but with him I wouldn’t say no. There are some things inside of him.”