Clemson’s defense put on a brilliant performance at Death Valley, Saturday, limiting Connecticut to 99 total yards and didn’t allow a third-down conversion in the Tigers’ 44-7 victory. UConn’s Brian Brewton returned the game’s opening kickoff for a touchdown, but the Huskies got little else the rest of the way, failing to convert on any of their 14 third-down attempts and finishing with -17 yards rushing.
After B.T. Potter’s kick was good from 49 yards out, Clemson quickly erased UConn’s lead with a touchdown run from Will Swinney on a well-executed fake field goal. That was all Brent Venables’ unit would need on Military Appreciation Day. Clemson’s intercepted two UConn passes while racking up six sacks and nine tackles for loss. UConn was also 0 of 4 on fourth-down tries.
D.J. Uiagalelei went much of the way at quarterback, but never caught fire, completing 21 of 44 passes for 241 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The running game didn’t get rolling, either, as Clemson finished the day averaging just 3.1 yards/carry. Will Shipley and Kobe Pace were in uniform but didn’t participate out of an abundance of caution for their recent injuries. Phil Mafah (49 yards) and Darien Rencher (37 yards) carried the load, instead.
Clemson’s defense inflicted most of the punishment, but the Tigers didn’t escape unscathed from the encounter. Wide receiver Justyn Ross, linebacker James Skalski, quarterback Taisun Phommachanh and defensive tackle Tre Williams all left the game with injuries. In his postgame comments, Dabo Swinney said Skalski “will be fine” and Williams is dealing with injuries to both shoulders. Swinney is awaiting more information on Ross and Phommachanh before commenting on their status.
The Tigers return home next week for a noon kickoff against Wake Forest.
Here’s my recap from Death Valley: