The game started badly and ended not-much-better for Clemson.
But in between, the Tigers let a golden opportunity slip away.
Trailing 17-0 after a pair of touchdown-producing giveaways, the Tigers pieced together an 11-play, 65-yard touchdown drive highlighted by an 18-yard third-and-seven pass from Tajh Boyd to freshman Mike Williams and then a three-yard touchdown toss from Boyd to Sammy Watkins.
Clemson thwarted Florida State's next drive when Bashaud Breeland intercepted a Jameis Winston pass, returned it 29 yards, and got another 15 on an out-of-bounds late hit by the Seminoles.
Starting at the FSU 42, the Tigers picked up a first down at the Seminole 29, and had a chance for a big play on a short pass from Boyd to Watkins, who, with room to run, tripped over teammate Germone Hopper and went down after just a two-yard gain. On second down, a short pass to Rod McDowell resulted in an eight-yard loss, as McDowell attempted to reverse field and found only deeper trouble. On third down, Boyd passed incomplete, under pressure, and the Tigers punted the ball away from the FSU 35.
FSU started at its 13 and went nowhere, and punted the ball back to the Tigers, who this time started at midfield.
Again, Clemson picked up one first down, but got no further. Boyd lost four yards when he collided with McDowell in the backfield, and then threw incomplete passes intended for Watkins and Williams.
Again the Tigers punted, and Bradley Pinion pinned the Seminoles back at their five yard line.
Back-to-back throws of 11 and 12 yards from Winston to Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw gave FSU some breathing room, and on the next play, Winston connected with Greene for a 72-yard catch-and-run.
With danger averted, the Seminoles led 24-7 and never looked back.