CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney had few inspirational words and no get-up-off the mat speeches, not after his third-ranked Tigers' record-setting defeat.
The Tigers (6-1, 4-1) had come in hoping to take control of the Atlantic Coast Conference and cement their place among the BCS contenders. Instead they left with a 51-14 loss to No. 5 Florida State, which scored the most points in Death Valley history on Saturday night.
"We know we're better than how we played, but nobody cares about that," Swinney said. "We got our butts handed to us."
The Seminoles (6-0, 4-0) quickly turned the ACC top-five showdown into a beatdown. They led 17-0 in the opening quarter, scoring touchdowns after two fumbles that stunned the crowd and put Clemson's fast-paced offense led by quarterback Tajh Boyd on its heels.
"We never could swing the momentum back in our favor and turnovers were a huge part of that," Swinney said. "You can't win when you play like that."
Clemson hadn't played like this for much of the past two seasons. It had won several key games since its last ACC defeat (at Florida State in 2012) including victories over Southeastern Conference powers LSU and Georgia.
The Seminoles proved the biggest challenge of all. Boyd, who came in a Heisman Trophy candidate, finished 17 of 37 for 156 yards and two interceptions and was completely outclassed by Florida State freshman Jameis Winston, who passed for 444 yards and three touchdowns, plus ran for a fourth TD.
Boyd said the loss was "West Virginia-esque," referring to the Tigers' last embarrassment, a 70-33 loss to the Mountaineers in the Orange Bowl after the 2011 season.
"We didn't play up to our capabilities and that's the most disappointing thing," Boyd said.
Winston and the Florida State defense took the Tigers out of it early and the Seminoles kept going.
Rashad Greene caught eight passes for 146 yards and two scores, including a 72-yard sprint that made it 24-7 in the second quarter.
"We have high expectations for ourselves," Greene said. "So we try and get our plays in and do as much as we can and score as much as we can. We were prepared and we just went out there and executed."
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