CLEMSON, S. Car. (CBSMiami.com) – One week after a tough loss to the number one ranked Oklahoma Sooners, the Florida State Seminoles are set for a trip to Death Valley to take on the Clemson Tigers.
Casting a shadow over this game for the Seminoles is the status of starting quarterback E.J. Manuel’s non-throwing shoulder. Manuel injured the shoulder in the third quarter of the game against the Sooners.
As of Monday, Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher said there was no structural damage, but it’s unknown what Manuel’s status for the game will be by game time. Manuel appeared ready to re-enter the game against the Sooners, but was held out in the second half.
The game carries extra weight because the winner will have a leg up in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. FSU and Clemson are the only ranked teams in the division. Clemson is coming off a big win over Auburn and FSU hasn’t won in Death Valley in a decade.
If Manuel can’t go for the Seminoles, the team will turn to Clint Trickett for his first start. Trickett tried mightily to rally the Noles against Oklahoma, but after a 56-yard touchdown pass tied the game, FSU’s rally fell short.
FSU’s defense is going to face a stiff test. Clemson’s offense is averaging 39 points per game, 217 yards rushing, and 523 yards of total offense per game this season, according to CFBStats.com.
Still, Clemson’s offense has faced Troy, Wofford and Auburn this season. None of those teams have a defense to speak of, with Auburn’s total defense numbers ranking 117th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
Clemson will find out if their defense can hang with the big boys against the Noles. Florida State’s defense is ranked fifth in the country in total defense, allowing just 195 yards per game, despite playing the number one Sooners last week.
In addition, despite losing to the Sooners, the FSU defense is only giving up 11.3 yards per game this season. With the FSU defense cancelling out Clemson’s offense, it falls on the FSU offense for the Noles to pull out the game.
FSU’s offense is averaging 36 points per game, thanks to blow out wins to start the season. The Noles are doing the majority of their damage through the air, averaging 325.3 yards per game. The Noles running game, hampered by injuries, is ranked 100th in the country.
Clemson’s defense is allowing 23.3 points per game, but is giving up close to 420 yards per game in 2011. Again, it will depend on whether or not Manuel will get the start and if he doesn’t, how much faith Jimbo Fisher has in Clint Trickett’s arm.
The game is set to kickoff at 3:30 on ABC.