Florida St. matches worst loss in school history

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — No. 2 Clemson defeated Florida State and first-year coach Willie Taggart 59-10 on Saturday, handing the Seminoles a 49-point defeat that tied for the worst in school history. It was also Florida State’s worst home loss ever.

Only a few seasons ago, these two programs ruled the ACC. But as the Seminoles have slipped in recent years, the disparity between the programs has grown. That was evident starting in the second quarter, when Clemson scored 28 points to take an insurmountable lead into halftime.

The 59 points allowed tied the second most the Seminoles have given up (Oregon in 2014, Auburn in 1985). The Seminoles lost 63-20 to Louisville in 2016.

It has been a difficult season for Taggart from the beginning, when the Seminoles lost 24-3 at home to Virginia Tech in the opener. Although they had won three of their past four going into the Clemson game, they had not faced this level of competition to date.

With a patchwork offensive line and no running game to speak of, the Florida State offense could do nothing against one of the best defenses in the nation. Add in unacceptable miscues, including a botched snap that went over Deondre Francois’ head, a roughing the kicker penalty that negated a missed field goal, targeting and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and it is easy to see how the margin of defeat grew so large.

By halftime, at least half of Doak Campbell Stadium had emptied out. It took a late touchdown by the Seminoles to keep the record from being broken. Florida State suffered a 49-0 loss to Florida in 1973.

It doesn’t get any easier from here in the quest to become bowl eligible. Florida State has NC State, Notre Dame, Boston College and Florida left on the schedule. Three of those teams are ranked, and all have winning records.

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