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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Clemson has not forgotten the debacle that took place against Florida State on its home turf last season.
The Tigers were ranked No. 3 in the nation and the No. 5 Seminoles went to Death Valley and handed Clemson its worst home loss since the series began in 1970.
Florida State used the 51-14 drubbing as a launching pad to a national championship and the Tigers were humiliated in front of a national television audience.
"We've tried to remind these guys that we did get embarrassed out here, make no mistake about it," Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said. "Yes, we've definitely talked about it."
The teams meet again Saturday night — this time in Tallahassee. Both, however, are in different positions.
Florida State was the preseason No. 1, and has held on to the top ranking. However, things haven't been the same this year. The 2013 team set the FBS record for the most points scored and defeated teams by an ACC record 51.6 points per game. The Seminoles are 2-0, but haven't proven themselves the same unstoppable force.
"It was definitely a turning point in a game that propelled us," Seminoles tackle Cam Erving said. "We knew we were good, but the thing about it was we had to go out and continue to do the little things we did to have success.
"That's what we want to do now. Take those same habits that we took from last year and just apply it to the game this year."
Clemson (1-1) was in the title hunt before the lopsided loss with a Heisman candidate quarterback in Tajh Boyd and a receiver, Sammy Watkins, who became the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL draft. The Tigers went on to defeat Ohio State in the Orange Bowl, but the loss kept them out of the ACC title game.
They started this season ranked No. 16 and fell to No. 23 after a 45-21 loss to No. 13 Georgia in the season-opener.
"Just from what they did to us last year, that was an embarrassment," Clemson safety Jayron Kearse said. "Just looking through media, that's all they talk about is how they beat us 51-14 and things like that.
"That's old, that's behind us. We're just ready to go out and show the world what we can do (on) Saturday."
The game was a defining moment for both teams last year and could be again in 2014.
Florida State has not been the juggernaut it was, but the Seminoles also built up steam last year. They still have the reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston at quarterback. The offensive line features five seniors and there's plenty of NFL talent on both sides of the ball.
"You have to let us have our own identity," Florida State receiver Rashad Greene said. "The result may be the same, but we may not beat teams by 30 or 40 like we were last year. But we're winning and getting better and playing good football is the most important thing.
"People can't compare us to that team. That was definitely a dominant team and nothing had been seen like that in years in college football, period."
A Clemson victory against the No. 1 team in the country, on the road, would likely shoot the No. 22 Tigers up the rankings. They have seven starters back on defense, including All-American defensive end Vic Beasley. There are new faces at quarterback — Cole Stoudt and Deshaun Watson — but the Tigers did lead Georgia 21-14 in the second quarter.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he knew the type of team he had after the Clemson victory last year.
"It's always good to be able to see yourself when you play at a very high level mentally and physically and emotionally, what you're capable of," Fisher said. "It gives you supreme confidence because you knew the caliber of opponent and how good they were. ... If you can overcome that and focus and concentrate and do those kinds of things there, you're capable of doing them anywhere else in our schedule."
AP Sports Writer Peter Iacobelli in Clemson, South Carolina, contributed to this report.
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