April 21, 2024

CLEMSON, S.C. — Jordan Travis threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Keon Coleman to start overtime and No. 4 Florida State completed a second-half comeback to defeat Clemson 31-24 on Saturday and snap a seven-game losing streak against the Tigers.

Travis also threw for another TD and ran for a score for the Seminoles (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had not beaten Clemson (2-2, 0-2) since an overtime victory in 2014.

“I had tears coming down in the locker room,” said Travis, the sixth-year quarterback.

FSU linebacker Kalen DeLoach forced a fumble by Cade Klubnik and scooped it up for a 56-yard TD return to tie things at 24 with 31 seconds left in the third quarter.

Clemson had a chance to take a late lead, but Jonathan Weitz, a graduate student who left the team before the season only to return after the Tigers had issues in the kicking game, but his 29-yard try with under two minutes left was wide left.

Instead, the game went to OT and Travis, who was 21 of 37 for 289 yards, lofted a pass that Coleman caught in stride and hushed the raucous Death Valley crowd on the first extra possession.

Clemson couldn’t get a first down on its possession when Klubnik’s fourth-and-2 pass sailed wide of the target and Florida State’s players ran to celebrate on the field where they hadn’t won since 2013.

Clemson had lost only twice in 10 years at Death Valley since the Seminoles and quarterback Jameis Winston’s memorable 51-14 beatdown of the Tigers in 2013.

“We come here with that atmosphere and had adversity over the course of the game, all things you expect,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “The end of this game, it was really special. The things I was most proud of, I told our players, was they put their heart on display.”

Florida State struggled to find space much of the first half and had only 21 yards with less than 8 minutes left before the half. That’s when Travis and his talented corps of playmakers found their groove.

Travis directed a pair of 75-yard touchdown drives in the final 5 minutes, the first ending when Coleman was left alone a step inside the goal line for a 7-yard scoring catch.

After Clemson answered quickly with a TD drive of its own, Travis went 4-of-4 for 67 yards and finished with a 2-yard touchdown run to get within 17-14.

Clemson started No. 9 in the preseason rankings, slid down and eventually out of the poll after a 28-7 loss in Week 1 to unranked Duke. Three weeks of hearing their season was over obviously rankled the defending ACC champions and the Tigers had their most effective offensive showing this season.

Weitz, who had been Clemson’s backup kicker for four seasons got a call from coach Dabo Swinney at his home in Charleston, asking him to rejoin the team. Weitz was working on a graduate degree online.

He got the Tigers’ scoring started with a 30-yard field goal. He had made just three extra points in his four seasons with the team before pursuing a job in finance.

THE TAKEAWAY

Florida State: The Seminoles overcame perhaps their biggest ACC hurdle to supplant Clemson as the league heavyweight. If Florida State can continue to show the grit it displayed in raucous Death Valley, it will be a strong bet to be playing for its first ACC crown since 2014.

Clemson: The Tigers needed a win to get themselves back in the ACC and College Football Playoff chase. Instead, they’ve got two losses in September for the second time in three seasons and will need conference chaos for any chance to play for a league title.

UP NEXT

Florida State has a week off, then starts a three-game homestand with Virginia Tech on Oct. 7.

Clemson travels to Syracuse on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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