TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Chris Thompson's hand still stung from the high fives he'd earned after rumbling through tackles for a 22-yard touchdown run when he noticed the flag. A hold on tight end Nick O'Leary negated the run, pushing Florida State's offense in the wrong direction yet again.
In the end, none of it mattered. The 11 flags on Florida State on Saturday were simply the twists and turns needed to add some drama to a 49-37 win over Clemson.
But for a team that finished 116th in the nation in penalties a year ago, the myriad of flags was particularly troubling.
"That's the disappointing thing," Jimbo Fisher said. "That's ridiculous. We can't play undisciplined like that. In a big game, this will eventually haunt us."
For much of the first quarter, it seemed like those flags would be Florida State's undoing against Clemson.
The Seminoles drove to the Clemson 33 late in the first quarter, but a false start on O'Leary stalled the drive, and Dustin Hopkins missed a field-goal try.
On the final drive of the second quarter, it was a repeat performance. Florida State had a third-and-1 at the Clemson 13, and left tackle Cameron Erving was whistled for a false start. EJ Manuel's next pass fell incomplete, and Hopkins again missed the field goal.
The offense found its groove in the second half, erasing the damage done, but the Seminoles still finished with one more penalty Saturday than they'd accumulated in the first three games combined.
It's not ideal, guard Josue Matias admits, but there was a silver lining.
After Thompson's big run was called back, Florida State responded quickly, with Manuel hitting Rodney Smith for a touchdown on the next play.
"It didn't really bother us, because we knew we could always do it again," Matias said. "Our job is to block, and we executed."