Florida State, RB Akers seek to end No. 2 Clemson’s streak
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Cam Akers doesn’t plan to leave any crumbs on his plate this season.
Florida State’s dynamic tailback is second in Atlantic Coast Conference rushing and leads the league with seven touchdowns on the ground this season. Akers and the Seminoles (3-2, 2-1 ACC) hope to keep that going Saturday against No. 2 Clemson (5-0, 3-0), a team they haven’t beaten since 2014.
Akers, a junior, has also struggled against the defending national champions. He’s run for just 47 yards on 23 carries in two games, both losses, to the Tigers the previous two seasons.
The Seminoles hope that will be different this time around. Akers believes he’s put in the work to ensure success against any opponent.
“Just knowing, will and determination, trying to get every crumb,” Akers said. “Every play trying to get every crumb.”
He’s left very few scraps for anyone else this season. Akers ran for three touchdowns (one shy of the school record) in a victory over Louisville three weeks ago, then capped a 31-13 win against North Carolina State with a 41-yard TD run to lock things up in the final quarter.
Akers is seeing things turn around for Florida State under second-year coach Willie Taggart.
“I think it’s something that’s been a collective effort and a collective thing that we’ve been doing over time,” Akers said. “It hasn’t been something just happened and it’s starting to show now.”
Clemson is seeking to extend its program record 20-game winning streak and beat the Seminoles for a fifth straight season, something it has never done.
The Tigers dropped a spot in the rankings after their last game on Sept. 28, needing a dramatic stop on a two-point conversion to escape North Carolina with a 21-20.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was proud of his players for the win, but has spent the team’s bye week, tightening up execution and correcting mistakes. He knows that Akers will be gunning for the Tigers.
“He’s a physical guy so you better match that mindset or he’s going to bloody your nose,” Swinney said.
Some other things to know when Florida State plays No. 2 Clemson:
“ROY” BUS BACK
The Clemson coach dusted off his “ROY” bus metaphor where “ROY” stands for “Rest Of Y’all.” He used it last season, saying there was one college football bus for top-ranked Alabama and one for everyone else, or the “Rest of Y’all.” But the defending national champs fell from No. 1 two weeks ago with the Crimson Tide taking their place. “We’re back on the ‘ROY’ bus, man,” he said. “Here we go.”
Florida State coach Willie Taggart said both James Blackman and Alex Hornibrook will play quarterback against Clemson. Blackman is start, back after missing the North Carolina State win with injury.
Both Clemson and Florida State have gotten off to fast starts this season. The Tigers are outscoring opponents 119-26 in the first half. The Seminoles are almost as strong with a 107-49 advantage over opponents in the first 30 minutes.
Clemson has not lost since falling in the 2017 College Football Playoff semifinals, a run of 20 straight. Florida State’s win over North Carolina State two weeks ago gave the Seminoles back-to-back ACC victories for the first time since 2016.
Clemson’s Swinney joked about football coaches spending their downtime immersed in football. “Dentists who get a weekend off and sit around and work on somebody’s teeth,” he said. “But football coach is a weird job. You get a weekend off and what do you do? You watch football.”
Associated Press writer Bob Ferrante contributed to this report from Tallahassee, Florida.