There are bad beats, and then there’s what happened in the Florida State-Clemson game Saturday.
The Tigers, favored by 9.5 points over the Seminoles, led by four, 24-20, as Florida State began its final possession. As the Seminoles were throwing multiple laterals on the game’s final snap trying to score a winning touchdown, quarterback Jordan Travis threw his lateral back into the middle of the field, but running back Lawrance Toafili couldn’t make the grab.
Instead, Clemson linebacker Barrett Carter scooped up the loose ball near the goal line and then fell into the end zone. After a review, Clemson was credited with a touchdown. The final score became 30-20, meaning the Tigers had covered the spread.
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It wasn’t just the spread, though. The over/under for the game, according to VegasInsider, was 49.5 points. Before the touchdown, the teams had combined for 44 points; after, they combined for 50, pushing the total above the over.
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The whole ending to the game seemed to be leading up to a bizarre finish. Florida State faced a fourth-and-32 from its 17 with 1:26 remaining and decided to punt rather than go for it. The Seminoles still had two timeouts and Clemson’s offense has been a disaster all season — this was the first time all year the Tigers scored more than 20 points against a Power 5 opponent.
If the goal of the decision was to get the ball back, then it was successful. Clemson running back Will Shipley took three handoffs and the Tigers punted with 34 seconds left. The ball rolled down to the Florida State 9 with 23 seconds left.
Travis’ first play after the punt was a 24-yard completion to Keyshawn Helton to the FSU 33. The play was originally ruled an illegal forward pass with Travis supposedly past the line of scrimmage, but the call was reversed on review. Travis’ next pass was incomplete, leaving Florida State four seconds to gain 67 yards.
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Travis initially found Treshaun Ward at the Seminoles’ 43. Ward pitched back to Andrew Parchment, who started to retreat to avoid the Clemson defense. He threw back to Travis, who couldn’t hang on at first. Once he reclaimed the ball, he immediately threw it back, leading to the miss by Toafili and the scoop-and-score by Carter. Then came the review, with the touchdown being confirmed, and the game was over.
Yeah, that’ll be an all-timer of a bad beat.