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10/20/2013 1:38 AM EDT
Winston, No. 5 FSU crush No. 3 Clemson, 51-14
FLORIDA ST 51, CLEMSON 14

By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Jameis Winston and Florida State didn't
take long to hush Death Valley, making a statement that that
could be heard from Alabama to Oregon.

The Seminoles' remarkable redshirt freshman threw for 444 yards
and three touchdowns and No. 5 Florida State crushed No. 3
Clemson 51-14 Saturday night. When the first BCS standings of
the season come out Sunday, Florida State should be right there
with the top-ranked Crimson Tide and second-ranked Ducks,
fighting for the top spots.

"Do we deserve to be in the top two? We deserve to be No. 1,"
Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith said.

The Atlantic Coast Conference's game of the year, billed as
maybe the league's biggest game ever, quickly became a
Seminoles' seminar on how to take apart a top-five opponent on
its hostile home turf in front of 83,428.

"We don't play against noise. We're playing against the Clemson
Tigers," Winston said. "It was amazing, when we were out on the
field that first snap. It was loud and we started smiling
because we don't play against noise."

The game started with two Heisman Trophy contender quarterbacks.
It ended with one.

Playing in one of the loudest stadiums in the country, Winston
was unfazed, going 22 for 34 for Florida State (6-0, 4-0). His
first throw was a 22-yard touchdown to Kelvin Benjamin, and he
scrambled for a 4-yard touchdown that made it 41-7 with 4:04
left in the third quarter.

"They took advantage of our mistakes," Clemson coach Dabo
Swinney said. "They might be the best team in the country."

Tajh Boyd threw two interceptions for Clemson, and his
first-quarter fumble was returned 37 yards for touchdown by
Mario Edwards. Clemson (6-1, 4-1) turned it over a season-high
four times, the first one on the first play from scrimmage.

"We know we're better than how we played, but nobody cares about
that," Swinney said.

Rashad Greene caught eight passes for 146 yards and two scores,
including a 72-yard sprint that made it 24-7 Florida State in
the second quarter.

The Seminoles broke a five-game losing streak at Memorial
Stadium, scored more points than any opponent ever has in Death
Valley and gave fourth-year coach Jimbo Fisher his biggest
victory since taking over for Bobby Bowden.

Florida State is also perfect through six games for the first
time since 1999, the last time Bowden's `Noles won the national
championship.

Maybe after all these years, the Seminoles are finally back to
that level?

"They're mature, they're growing, they're older, they understand
the moments," Fisher said of his team.

As for Clemson, the Tigers can't be accused of `Clemsoning' this
one away. They were simply outclassed.

Florida State tight end Nick O'Leary punctuated the beatdown in
the third quarter, running over Clemson's Travis Blanks as he
tried to make a tackle. Seminoles by a knockout. O'Leary
finished with five catches for 161

The game marked only the fourth time that the conference better
known for basketball has matched two top-five football teams,
and the first time since 2005.

Not long after Clemson made its grand entrance, sprinting past
Howard's Rock and down the hill onto the field, orange balloons
filling the sky above Memorial Stadium, Florida State took
control. On the first play from scrimmage Smith stripped Stanton
Seckinger and Terrence Brooks recovered for the Seminoles at the
Clemson 34.

Two plays later, Winston lofted deep down the sideline to the
6-foot-5 Benjamin, who went up high for the perfectly thrown
ball and landed with it inside the pylon for a touchdown.

Winston has been even better than advertised in his first season
as a starter, hard to believe considering the hype. But this
opponent and this setting represented by far the biggest
challenge of his young career. Turns out, it was just another
showcase - for Florida State's defense, too.

Lamarcus Joyner forced Clemson turnover No. 2, coming free on a
blitz and knocking the ball free from Boyd. Edwards scooped and
scored. It was 17-0 with 3:07 left in the first quarter and
Death Valley suddenly didn't seem so daunting.

Clemson made a much needed response, Boyd hitting Sammy Watkins
with a 3-yard touchdown pass to trim the lead to 10 late in the
first quarter. But Winston and his talented receivers struck
again.

Winston beat a Clemson blitz with a quick pass to Greene, who
slipped a tackle and was gone, 72 yards for a touchdown that
made it 24-7 midway through the second. Greene made a shush
gesture to the Clemson fans. He didn't need to. He had already
quieted them.

Joyner's interception of Boyd in Florida State territory turned
it into another field goal to make it 27-7 at halftime.

Boyd finished 17 for 37 for 156 yards.

The last sounds heard booming from Memorial Stadium were from
the Florida State band, playing that familiar Seminole war chant
with its fans chopping away.

---

Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

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