From 2009 to 2019, the winner of the annual contest between Florida State and Clemson won the ACC Atlantic each season.
The first of those that were top-10 matchups came on this day 10 years ago. The fourth-ranked Seminoles used an offensive explosion to run away from the Tigers, 49-37.
FSU finished with 667 yards of offense in the contest, but didn’t lead until the latter parts of the third quarter. Leading 21-14 at halftime, Clemson doubled its advantage early in the third quarter as Sammy Watkins found Andre Ellington for a 52-yard touchdown on a trick play.
Trailing by 14, FSU didn’t panic. Instead, it responded with touchdowns on four straight possessions and five of its next six.
After a Chris Thompson touchdown run capped a 3-play, 75-yard drive, FSU quarterback EJ Manuel threw touchdowns to Rashad Greene and Rodney Smith to put the Seminoles ahead for the first time and for good, 35-31.
James Wilder Jr. and Thompson added touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to turn a 14-point deficit into a convincing FSU win.
In one of his signature contests at FSU, Manuel passed for 380 yards and rushed for 102 more. Thompson finished with a game-high 103 yards rushing and led FSU with eight catches for 79 yards receiving in the victory. Tajh Boyd threw three touchdowns for Clemson in the loss.
The contest would ultimately serve as Clemson’s only ACC defeat. FSU went on to win the ACC and the Orange Bowl before finishing in the top 10 with a 12-2 record. It was FSU’s first ACC title in seven years and first BCS bowl win in 13. Neither would have come without the top-10 victory over Clemson that took place a decade ago.
Garnet and Great
Recap and box score: