Sean Maguire Lead ‘Noles to Victory Over Clemson in Winston’s Absence

Written by Adrian Beecher

Tallahassee- Sean Maguire was rallied around by his teammates and a crowd of 82,316 fans chanting his name as the top ranked ‘Noles defeated the 22nd ranked Clemson Tigers Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. In a defensive battle it would take overtime to complete this one as the Seminole’s squeaked by with a 23-17 victory over the Tigers.

The game started off slow as Florida State was able to get out to an early 3-0 lead halfway through the 1st quarter with Roberto Aguayo connecting on a 50 yd field goal, the second longest of his career.  ‘Noles punter Cason Beatty had a career high 8 punts during the game, just to put this one into perspective. ”I haven’t kicked that much since a high school game.” said Beatty postgame.

But other than the field goal, FSU did not have much to celebrate about during the first half.  They would punt the ball on their next five possession’s and go into the half with only 3 points on the board, their fewest since a Nov. 24 2012 matchup against Florida.

Maguire was only able to complete 6 passes out of 17 first half attempts for 103 yards and the defense gave up 3 sack’s all during the first half.

Clemson defensive end Vic Beasly Jr. looks to get to the quarterback on this play.  (Photo Credit: Don Montague / The SkyBoat)

Clemson on the other and was gaining good momentum. As the second quarter opened up, the Tigers connected on a quick 30 yard field goal to tie up the game.  Two possession’s later running back D.J. Howard found the endzone for the Tigers to put them up 10-3 late in the 1st half. That would be the halftime score.

With a mix of a stout performance form the Clemson D, plus FSU being without Jameis Winston,  production was down for the ‘Noles. At the Half Clemson had 249 yards of total offense in comparison to FSU’s 84, with time of possession in favor of the Tigers at 18:24 to the ‘Noles 11:36.

The Seminoles started the 2nd half with possession and it seemed that a halftime pep talk had resurged the ‘Noles.  Maguire led FSU on a 9-play 68 yard opening drive that was capped off by a 1 yard Mario Pender TD run to tie the game up at 10.

Then after consecutive punts by both teams and a 2nd missed field goal by Clemson, it was time for the fourth quarter.

On a 2nd and 5 at the Clemson 47 yard line, Maguire’s worst nightmare came as Jayron Kearse intercepted his pass on 3rd and 10. The Tigers would take over and QB Deshaun Watson led them down the field in 4 plays to go up 17-10 with just 11:37 left in the 4th.

Hope was starting to dwindle from the Seminoles until on a 2nd and 24 at their own 26 yard line, Maguire connected with wideout Rashad Greene who made his way 74 yards into the endzone for six. This tied the game up at 17 with 6 minutes left in the 4th.

Teammates celebrate with Karlos Williams after he ran in a 12 yard TD to give the ‘Noles a victory in overtime.  (Photo Credit: Don Montague/ The SkyBoat)

With just under 3 minutes to go in the game, Maguire again threw an interception, this time the Tigers took over with 1st and 10 at the ‘Noles 26 yard line, thus taking the life out of the stadium.  All hope looked lost for Florida State.

But then, on 2nd and 2, the stadium erupted as defensive tackle Eddie Goldman came in to make the tackle and forced a fumble which was recovered by the ‘Noles, thus giving them new life. After a kneel down by Maguire, the game was now headed to overtime.

In overtime, Clemson would start off with possession, but the FSU defense would stand tall forcing a 4th and 1 at the FSU 16 yard line. Partly due to their kicker having missed 2 field goals in the game previously, the Tigers elected to go for it on 4th.  The attempt would be all for not, as the Nole’s forced a Clemson turnover on downs.

As the Seminoles took over the game looked all but won as FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo warmed up on the sidelines for a game wining kick. However, on the ‘Noles second play of the overtime, running back Karlos Williams took it the distance himself on a 12 yard touchdown run which would be the game winner. The ‘Noles escaped 23-17 to remain unbeaten extending their streak to 19.

FSU quarterback Sean Maguire finished the night 21 of 39 passing for 305 yards 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions in place of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

“This was the greatest night of my life so far”, said Maguire of the win.

FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher spoke highly of Maguire postgame stating, “I couldn’t be prouder of Sean Maguire tonight for what he did for our team, the resolve he had.”

With the target of No. 1 on their back’s FSU will now look ahead as they head to Raliegh, NC to face off against conference opponent NC State. Kickoff is set for 3:30pm EST.

The ‘Noles will have their leader in Jameis Winston back next week starting Monday with practice coach Fisher acknowledged after the game.

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