Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
CLEMSON, S.C. -- First, an injury update. Chris Chancellor has a lower leg injury. He’s being reevaluated during the break. Now, a quick look at what happened in the first half here in Memorial Stadium.
Turning point: It was first and goal from the FSU 5-yard line, when Kyle Parker was sacked by Markus White for a loss of a yard and fumbled. Dekoda Watson recovered it, and Clemson’s chance at heading to the locker room took a hit. The defense gave Parker and Co. another opportunity on the ensuing drive with an interception, but Richard Jackson missed a 38-yard field goal. That fumble on the five-yard line was as close as the Tigers would get to reasserting themselves in the first half.
What Clemson needs to do: Eliminate the penalties and capitalize on their red zone scoring chances. Clemson has five penalties for 40 yards. That’s surprising, considering the Tigers entered this game averaging just 4.6 penalties per game, which was fourth best in the country. Earlier in the year, when Clemson was struggling, it was in the red zone. That appears to be the case again tonight.
What Florida State needs to do: Continue to run the ball and limit the mistakes. Jermaine Thomas has been a bright spot for the Noles, and his success helps Ponder with the play-action passes and opens up other options in the passing game. Right now, though, FSU has only been successful on 1 of 2 third downs. Their three turnovers have kept them out of a rhythm. Ponder’s two interceptions are uncharacteristic, but Clemson’s defense deserves some credit for that.