'12 defeat sticks with Clemson Tigers
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Coaches from Clemson and Florida State may be treating this just like any other game, but don't tell that to the players heading into Saturday's matchup between the No. 3 Tigers and No. 5 Seminoles.
"It may be the biggest game in ACC history. We don't know," Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley said. "But our goal is to win a national championship."
It's the league's first matchup of top-five teams since No. 5 Miami defeated No. 3 Virginia Tech 27-7 in 2005. And Saturday night's winner in Death Valley will have another impressive line on its resume in the hunt for the national title.
"Obviously, we know it's a big game, got a lot of national relevance, conference relevance and all that," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Sunday.
Swinney says he and his team will approach things as they have all season: Prepare hard during the week and try to play the best they can when it's time to kick off.
"If you really change from what you normally do, then you send the wrong message," Swinney said. "I know it's not that way for fans, but that's the way it has to be for us to be consistent."
The Seminoles (5-0, 3-0 ACC) are well rested after an open date this past weekend. Clemson (6-0, 4-0) needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns against Boston College to remain undefeated.
Florida State, which rallied for a 49-37 victory against the Tigers last year in Tallahassee, hasn't fared well the past decade at Death Valley. The Seminoles have not won there since 2001.
"Last year they got us, but I feel like we should have won," said Beasley, who has a career-best nine sacks this season. "We're looking for payback."
Both teams have high-powered offenses and relentless defenses. The Seminoles average nearly 54 points a game, about 10 more than the Tigers. Clemson leads the nation with 24 sacks.
"I'm trying to get the ACC to give me 13 guys and give me two more linemen so we can block them," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "I'm serious. They bring pressure."
Said Florida State QB Jameis Winston: "They're after our necks. We beat them at our home field last year. They beat us at their home the year before that. It's just a back-and-forth battle."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.