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Manuel rallies No. 4 Florida State over No. 10 Clemson

Associated Press

9/23/2012 12:04:42 AM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- EJ Manuel threw for a career-high 380 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 102 yards as fourth-ranked Florida State rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to defeat No. 10 Clemson 49-37 on Saturday night.

The biggest Atlantic Coast Conference game in years was a wild one for a while. Then it was Florida State's offence pulling away from Clemson and it's fast-paced attack.

Chris Thompson ran for 103 yards and two scores and James Wilder Jr. added two touchdowns runs for the Seminoles, who broke open a close game with 35 second-half points. Thompson, who has 300 yards rushing in two ACC games, also caught eight passes for 79 yards.

Florida State (4-0. 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed until late in the third quarter, taking its first lead at 35-31 on Manuel's 29-yard touchdown pass to Rodney Smith. The Seminoles, who finished with 667 yards, built a 49-31 lead before Clemson scored late. Florida State is now the only remaining unbeaten team in the ACC.

Florida State, which just missed scoring 50 or more points for a fourth straight game, is averaging 56.2 points and 574.5 yards offence a game as it prepares to step out of conference play next weekend at South Florida.

Clemson (3-1, 0-1) built a 28-14 lead early in the third quarter on a 52-yard pass from All-American receiver Sammy Watkins to Andre Ellington.

The two teams combined for 1,093 yards offence as Clemson put up 426 yards against the nation's top-ranked defence.

The two teams combined for 361 yards offence in a wild opening. The Tigers needed just 86 seconds to reach the end zone as DeAndre Hopkins blew past Florida State safety Terrence Brooks on a 60-yard scoring bomb from Boyd -- the first touchdown scored against the Seminole defence this season. But more were to come.

A trick play set up Clemson's second TD, a 6-yard run by Andre Ellington. Darrell Smith got a yard on a shovel pass from holder Spencer Benton on a fake field goal from the Florida State 15 two plays earlier.

Yet another trick play gave Clemson its 28-14 lead when Watkins took a lateral from Tajh Boyd and then threw back across the field to Ellington on a 52-yard scoring play. Although Watkins had 109 all-purpose yards, he was kept out of the end zone.

But Florida State responded quickly, sandwiching a pair of TDs around a 50-yard field goal by Clemson's Chandler Catanzaro.

Florida State came into the game with the nation's top-ranked defence, but it didn't seem to impress Clemson early in the game.

Clemson led 21-14 at the half, capitalizing on a fumble by Florida State's Rashad Greene to score the go-ahead touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Boyd to Brandon Ford.

Florida State came into the game with the nation's top-ranked defence, but it didn't seem to impress Clemson early in the game.

Clemson led 21-14 at the half, capitalizing on a fumble by Florida State's Rashad Greene to score the go-ahead touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Boyd to Brandon Ford.

The first half was eerily similar to last year's game at Clemson when the Tigers rolled up 443 yards and 26 first downs in a 35-30 win. Manuel was sidelined with a shoulder injury in that game although backup Clint Trickett passed for 336 yards and three touchdown.

Boyd completed 20 of 36 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns for Clemson.