On a night when the defense wasn’t at its best, the Clemson offense stepped up and picked up the slack. And on the road no less, where the Tigers have struggled this season.
DJ Uiagalelei scored on a late touchdown run that put Clemson up for good, and the defense stiffened up inside the five on in the games waning seconds as the Tigers knocked off Louisville 30-24.
Quarterback: This was Uiagalelei’s best performance, without question. The accuracy issues that had plagued the quarterback have been much better in the past two games and against Louisville, there were very few passes that were off-target. Uiagalelei was scanning the field and looked much more comfortable. Not to mention not turning the ball over. The sophomore quarterback accounted for three total touchdowns, and played the entire second half on a sprained PCL… B
Running Back: There just wasn’t much room to run in this one. Not really the fault of the running backs, though, and we will get to that in a moment. Will Shipley led the team with 47 rushing yards and they were tough yards. The freshman also had the long kickoff return. Kobe Pace left after just two carries with an injury… B-
Wide Receivers: Like Uiagalelei, the receivers had their most complete game of the season. The drops have become a thing of the past over the past two games. Beaux Collins had his coming out party and looked pretty good playing in the slot. The freshman had his first 100-yard game of his career. Justyn Ross pulled in five catches and showed some physicality fighting for a late first down. Dacari Collins also looks like a guy that will be hard to handle in future seasons. B
Tight Ends: Davis Allen had three catches, one going for a touchdown. He has become a bigger factor in the passing game since struggling with some drops early in the season. The blocking still leaves a lot to be desired at times… B-
Offensive Line: The Tigers started their sixth different group of offensive linemen in this game. That is not the recipe for success. If there is one spot you must have continuity it is along the offensive line and outside of the two tackle spots, the Tigers have gotten none. It has been a game of musical chairs and it shows in their play. The line struggled mightily early on last night, but seemed to settle in as we got into the second half… C-
Defense: By far the worst outing of the season for Brent Venables group. Malik Cunningham had his way on the ground, and hit some plays through the air as well. Cunningham had just -4 rushing yards in the decisive fourth quarter and whether that was due to his injury of a late adjustment by Venables, we will never know. The defense stepped up when the game was on the line though, keeping the Cards out of the end zone on four straight plays from inside the five to secure the win… C-
Special Teams: BT Potter bounced back after an awful game against FSU, hitting on both of his FG attempts. Will Spiers continues to be an effective punter and Shipley had the big return… A
Clemson and Notre Dame have released depth charts ahead of this weekend’s matchup at Death Valley.
For the second time this season, Clemson will be an underdog at home.
Despite Clemson’s astonishing loss to Miami, the Tigers will head to Raleigh next week favored over NC State.