CLEMSON -- Clemson led 17-0 at Auburn, held brief advantage at Boston College and was competitive at North Carolina. But Clemson failed to win any of its first three road games this fall and takes an 0-3 mark to Tallahassee, Fla., on Saturday.
The 8 p.m. kickoff for a game having division title implications could make for the most difficult road environment of the season for Clemson, at least the most difficult road challenge since traveling to Auburn in September.
Clemson's road record is one of coach Dabo Swinney's greatest disappointments this season.
"We are ofer on the road and that's the most frustrating thing we have had to deal with," Swinney said. "We've been in every game in the fourth quarter. We need a complete smooth game on the road."
Road woes have been a consistent theme at Clemson the last decade.
Since 2001, Clemson is 21-25 away from Memorial Stadium. Under Swinney, Clemson is 4-7 on the road. However, Clemson did have success on the road last season in the state of Florida, defeating Miami, 40-37 in overtime.
And the winner is ...
Swinney said after Thursday's practice Chandler Catanzaro will be the Tigers' placekicker against Florida State. Catanzaro earned the job out of August camp, but was demoted after missing two field goals against Boston College. Richard Jackson took over the duties against N.C. State and proceeded to miss both of his field goal attempts. Catanzaro had made 7 of 12 field goals this season.
Hot Rod not so hot
Swinney said running back Roderick "Hot Rod" McDowell must improve this week. The redshirt freshman will again be Clemson's No. 2 running back behind Jamie Harper because to former Berkeley High School standout Andre Ellington's foot injury.
"Rod will have to play better," Swinney said. "He got big eyes (against N.C. State). He got caught up in the big picture. I was really frustrated because he could really help us. I told him he would have played more if he executed better."
For Florida State, quarterback Christian Ponder is listed as questionable. ... Swinney said Jaron Brown is moving around much better this week in practice and he should be able to return to the lineup. Swinney said defensive tackle Miguel Chavis will also return to the field at Florida State. Cornerback Byron Maxwell will play, but might again be limited to sub packages due to his turf toe ailment. Kourtnei Brown (high ankle sprain) is out.