Florida State coach Bobby Bowden narrowly avoided the most embarrassing loss of his coaching career last week. Now he tries to avoid losing to his son two years in a row.
Bobby Bowden and son Tommy Bowden meet for the eighth time when ACC rivals Clemson and Florida State clash at Tallahassee on Saturday.
Bobby Bowden has defeated his son five times, but the Tigers routed the Seminoles 35-14 last season. Ninth-ranked Florida State (2-0, 1-0) is 15-4 in this all-time series, and has never lost two straight to Clemson (1-1, 0-1).
“This is a big ACC game for us,” Seminoles wide receiver De’Cody Fagg said. “Of course it is the ‘Bowden Bowl’ so we are going to try get this win and make coach Bowden happy.”
The Seminoles kept their coach nervous with a 24-17 victory over Troy on Saturday.
Florida State trailed 3-0 at the half, and needed two touchdowns in the final 6:12 to escape with the win.
“I didn’t begin to panic until … the fourth quarter,” Bobby Bowden said. “It was like having a nightmare. Like having a bad dream.”
Drew Weatherford threw a game-tying, 5-yard TD pass to Chris Davis with 6:12 left, and Buster Davis’ interception set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Joe Surratt with 1:56 to play.
Weatherford completed 30-of-43 for 336 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on Saturday after throwing for 175 yards and an interception in the Seminoles’ 13-10 win over Miami on Sept. 4.
Weatherford has been the offensive leader for Florida State, as its running game has been atrocious.
The Seminoles ran for 45 yards on 28 carries against Troy after mustering 1 yard on the ground against the Hurricanes.
“I still don’t know why we don’t run better,” Bobby Bowden said. “We ain’t happy, but it ain’t alarming me yet.”
Lorenzo Booker, a redshirt senior who rushed for 552 yards last season, has 15 yards on 12 carries. Sophomore Antone Smith is the team’s leading rusher with 30 yards on 15 attempts.
While the rushing offense is nonexistent, the rushing defense is the best in the nation.
Florida State leads the country in that category, giving up just 13 yards a game, and is 11th in total defense.
The defensive front took a major hit this week, though, learning defensive tackle Paul Griffin will miss the rest of the season because of a torn ligament in his left knee. Griffin hurt his knee against Troy, thrusting freshman Kendrick Stewart into a starting role this week.
“It just means you are going to have to play freshmen,” Bobby Bowden said. “There’s going to have to be freshmen playing. Guys you would have liked to have redshirt and that probably needed redshirting. Somebody will have to step up.”
Clemson’s offense gained 354 yards against Florida State last season, and has looked sharp in its first two games this year.
Quarterback Will Proctor has thrown for 509 yards, five touchdowns and one interception, while running back James Davis leads the team with 191 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
The offense couldn’t compensate for poor special teams play, though, in the Tigers’ 34-33 double-overtime loss to Boston College on Saturday.
Clemson allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown and lost the game on a blocked extra point in overtime.
“I would say special teams hurt us,” Tommy Bowden said. “I don’t ever remember a game coming down to an extra point. (We didn’t) cover kicks. I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out how we’d win the game.”
The loss knocked the Tigers, who were ranked 18th heading into their game with BC, out of the Top 25.