Apology accepted, Tigers turn to FSU

Apology accepted, Tigers turn to FSU


Apology accepted, Tigers turn to FSU


CLEMSON – Unfortunately for the N.C. State football team, one of the best hits the Wolfpack got on Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson Saturday evening was delivered by an assistant coach.

Deshaun Watson reacts after throwing a touchdown pass to Ray-Ray McCloud in the fourth quarter of Saturday's win at N.C. State.

Deshaun Watson reacts after throwing a touchdown pass to Ray-Ray McCloud in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s win at N.C. State.

N.C. State running backs coach Des Kitchings struck Watson on the shoulder after Watson ran out of bounds along the Wolfpack sideline following an 11-yard run late in the third quarter.

“A guy kind of swung at me and pushed me off,” Watson said Saturday night. “I just walked away. I don’t know why he did it.”

Watson completed a 35-yard touchdown pass five plays later to give Clemson its largest lead of the game, 47-27.

Kitchings was contacted by The Greenville News, but did not respond to a message.

Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney said Sunday evening that Kitchings, a 2000 Furman University graduate who was a standout receiver-return specialist for the Paladins, apologized after the game.

“Des is a good guy, and I’ve always had a lot of respect for him,” Swinney said. “He got caught up in the moment. Des apologized and called me personally. Let’s move on – we all have bigger things to worry about than that.”

At the top of that list is Saturday’s date against No. 15 Florida State in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown at Memorial Stadium. The Seminoles (7-1 overall, 4-0 in ACC) are coming off a 45-21 victory against Syracuse in which reserve quarterback Sean Maguire and back-up running back Jacques Patrick starred in place of injured Everett Golson and Dalvin Cook, respectively.

“Florida State is going to do what they do regardless of who the quarterback is,” Swinney said. “And Maguire has already us once. He’s a confident guy and they have confidence in him.”

As does Swinney in his quarterback.

Watson completed 23 of 30 passes for 383 yards and five touchdowns while running for a sixth score in the 56-41 win over the Wolfpack. On Sunday, he was named FBS National Offensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

“Some games we’ve had to have more out of him than others,” Swinney said. “But whether he’s playing App State or Wofford or Florida State, it doesn’t matter. He won’t prepare any different this week for Florida State than he did for N.C. State.”

Watson’s heroics on Saturday improved his record to 12-1 as Clemson’s starting quarterback over the last two seasons and boosted the Tigers to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in league play.

On Sunday Clemson moved up one spot to No. 5 in the Amway Coaches Poll while remaining No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25.


More USA TODAY High School Sports