Let’s start with the good. First and foremost, let’s give a shout out to that defense. They absolutely suffocated UConn’s offense. The Clemson defense allowed zero points, less than 100 yards of total offense, zero third down conversions, and zero fourth down conversions. That is a dominant performance, regardless of who you’re playing.
BT Potter was money as usual, converting all three field goal attempts, with two of them for 49 yards. Special teams did give up an early return for a touchdown, but also converted a fake field goal for a touchdown later on. It was nice to see Will Swinney finally get into the end zone. He has reliable hands and is underappreciated as a holder on special teams.
On the bad side of things, quarterback DJ Uiagalelei once again struggled with accuracy and led a mostly lackluster offensive performance. He was clearly hobbled, and was playing with a brace on his knee to protect a sprained ligament, so that could have contributed to his less than stellar performance. Taisun Phommachanh entered the game and did provide a much needed spark, but left the game with an injured shoulder.
Speaking of injuries, Sergio Allen was carted off the field due to injury. Any time a player is carted off, clearly that’s not a good sign. Justyn Ross left the game due to injury as well. Add Xavier Thomas’ and Tre Williams’ names to the injured list also.
This Clemson team has endured more injuries than any in recent memory. “We too deep” couldn’t be further from the truth concerning the 2021 Clemson team. Hopefully they will get everyone healthy for the 2022 season, because the offseason can’t get here quick enough in regards to the team’s overall health.
We can describe the ugly in two very familiar words: offensive line. The offensive line was whipped up front and controlled by the UConn defensive front. That’s right, the former three, four, and five star recruits were worked over by the former zero to two star star guys. Even considering the injuries, it is completely unacceptable for a team like Clemson to not be able to get any push up front against a team like UConn. There was zero room to run, and Clemson running backs were stuffed for the most part because of it.
If this team is to improve offensively, it has to start at the offensive line. Whether it’s recruiting, coaching, development, or whatever else, the offense simply won’t improve until they get a decent offensive line. It’s not a stretch to say that the Clemson offensive line is among the worst in all of college football. It will be interesting to see what happens with this position group during the off-season.
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