TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- No. 3 Clemson snapped a 10-year drought in Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday night by topping No. 12 Florida State 37-34 to remain unbeaten.
The Tigers fell behind 28-20 late in the third quarter and 34-29 with less than three minutes to play, but quarterback Deshaun Watson's arm kept their perfect season alive.
Watson, a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, threw what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown with 2:06 left to Jordan Leggett, who cut up the sideline and dove into the end zone for the go-ahead score. Clemson (8-0, 5-0 ACC), led by linebacker Kendall Joseph with seven tackles and a sack, held off the Seminoles (5-3, 2-3) on their final drive.
Watson finished 27 of 43 for 378 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Florida State appeared to move in field goal range with 43 seconds to play and a chance tie the game, but consecutive false start penalties and back-to-back sacks of quarterback Deondre Francois ended its last-gasp effort.
A turning point came with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Seminoles ahead 28-26. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook broke a long run that put the Seminoles in Tigers territory, but the play was called back by a chop block during the run by fullback Freddie Stevenson, who appeared to make a clean block in the open field.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, incensed on the sideline over the call, received a sideline warning and eventually a penalty, backing the Seminoles up to near their goal line rather than driving on the Clemson side of the field.
Florida State was forced to punt, and on the Tigers' next drive they got into range for kicker Greg Huegel, who booted a 46-yard go-ahead field goal that gave Clemson a 29-28 lead with 5:25 left.
Cook's 8-yard scamper into the end zone with 3:23 to play put Florida State back ahead, setting the stage for Watson's heroics.
The loss erased a masterful performance by Cook, a Heisman contender himself who rushed for 169 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Cook posted his fifth straight 100-yard rushing game and became the seventh running back in history to eclipse 1,000 yards for three straight seasons.
Cook is 192 yards away from breaking the Seminoles' all-time rushing record held by Warrick Dunn since 1996.
Francois finished 17 of 35 for 286 yards, a touchdown and interception.
The Florida State defense was paced by defensive back Trey Marshall, who recorded a career-high 11 tackles but was tossed in the third quarter for targeting.
Defensive backs Marquez White and and Tavarus McFadden had interceptions for the Seminoles.
Florida State's leading wideout was sophomore Nyqwan Murray, who recorded 96 yards on six catches and his first career touchdown.
Clemson running back Wayne Gallman -- in his first game back after suffering a concussion against N.C. State three weeks ago -- rushed for 82 yards and two scores. Leggett (five catches, 122 yards), Williams (seven catches, 70 yards) and Hunter Renfrow (five receptions, 62 yards, TD) paced Tigers' receivers.
Jadar Johnson intercepted a pass for Clemson.
Clemson didn't wait long to announce its presence at Doak Campbell Stadium, where the Tigers had only won once in the last 24 years.
Aided by a gutsy fourth-and-1 call by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney at midfield on the opening drive -- which Gallman converted -- the Tigers marched 68 yards in the opening 3:55 as Gallman punched it in from a yard out to open the scoring.
Clemson quickly made it 14-0 with 1:41 left in the first quarter when the Tigers converted on their second drive -- a 10-play, 80-yard march in just under four minutes. Watson recorded his first passing touchdown of the game, a 4-yard dart to Renfrow.
Florida State finally got on the board in the first half on its third possession, thanks to White's interception. Six plays and 60 yards later, Cook punched it in from 4 yards out to get the Seminoles their first points and close the gap to a 14-7 Clemson edge.
Clemson added three points late in the second quarter when Huegel drilled a 23-yarder to put the Tigers up 17-7, but the Seminoles answered with 23 seconds remaining in the half when Francois found Murray from 5 yards out for a touchdown.
NOTES: Florida State played the 800th game in program history ... This marked the sixth straight meeting in which both teams were ranked in the Top 25, and the fifth straight with at least one program in the top five. ... Clemson coach Dabo Swinney improved to 15-3 after an open date. ... Neither the Tigers nor Seminoles played last week. ... Florida State honored two former star players during Saturday's game -- receiver Monk Bonasorte and linebacker Derrick Brooks. Bonasorte was the honorary captain, and Brooks was recognized for being elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. ... Seminoles starting wideout Jesus Wilson (foot) did not play. ... Saturday's announced attendance was 78,025 -- the largest crowd for a Florida State home game this year.