FSU doesn't flinch, regains composure

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State's ship sat listing and taking on water with just under 12 minutes left in the third quarter.

Clemson's offense looked unstoppable. And at that point, the Tigers had proven to be such, leading 28-14.

Big play after big play from the likes of Sammy Watkins and Andre Ellington delivered one haymaker after another. Yet the Seminoles remained composed.

At the end, it was Florida State, not Clemson, that seemed unstoppable en route to 667 yards of total offense and a 49-37 win.

"And that's how I've known we've grown as a team, because we kept fighting, kept fighting, kept fighting," said sophomore defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan. "Coach [Jimbo] Fisher and Coach [Mark] Stoops, they kept repeating, 'When they score, don't flinch. Don't flinch.' "

There was no fire-and-brimstone speech from the coaches at halftime. No, it was a time for the players in the home locker room to regain their composure and organize their thoughts.

They didn't need to be yelled at. They understood what was at stake.

"We don't do a lot of pep talking, try to get the team too hyped or anything like that," wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin said. "We knew we had to come out in the second half and make plays.

"In the second half, we came out and looked at the scoreboard like it was 0-0. It was a new ball game."

If the scoreboard had been reset after the halftime break, the final score would have read 35-16.

That's not how things have gone for Florida State over the last few years. But maybe that's why Jernigan and company say this year, this team, is different.