Clemson: (Story by Nikki Hood) After the Tigers’ entrance into Death Valley and the pre-game light show, it was never pretty, but Clemson got the job done. Clemson (3-0 overall, 1-0 ACC) has yet to put together a complete game, but after a 48-20 victory over Louisiana Tech (1-2) Saturday night, the Tigers are still undefeated.
Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei completed 17-of-29 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 62 yards on nine carries. Will Shipley carried the ball 12 times for a career high 139 yards and two touchdowns.
Clemson trudged through much of the first, failing to gain much offensive momentum, but the Tigers still managed to hold a 13-6 advantage at halftime. The Tigers’ lone touchdown was a six-play, 79-yard drive that was capped off with a two-yard run by Shipley.
However, a different team emerged from the locker room with a markedly different enthusiasm and effort on both sides of the ball.
On Louisiana Tech’s first possession, Bulldogs’ Parker McNeil’s pass was intercepted by linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, Jr. setting up Clemson on the Louisiana Tech 32-yard line. On Clemson’s first play from scrimmage of the second half, Will Shipley burst through the line and found pay dirt for a 20-6 Clemson lead with 14:40 to play in the third quarter.
Shipley became the first Clemson player in records back to 1950 to open a season with multiple rushing touchdowns in each of the season’s first three games.
The next possession saw the Bulldogs drive to the 20-yard line, but that drive would end with Malcolm Greene’s interception. Uiagalelei then led Clemson on a 14-play, 90-yard drive that took 6:43 off the clock that was capped off with a Phil Mafah touchdown and a 27-6 Clemson advantage with 5:25 to play in the third quarter. It was Clemson’s longest scoring drive of the season.
Clemson’s defense stopped Louisiana Tech on four downs to give Clemson the ball on the Bulldogs 32-yard line. One play later, Uiagalelei found Beaux Collins down the home sideline for a touchdown and a 34-6 Clemson lead with 3:37 to play in the third quarter.
Louisiana Tech scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns – a 3-yard rush by Marquis Crosby and 13-yard pass to Tre Harris – to cut Clemson’s lead to 34-20 with 9:30 to play, forcing head coach Dabo Swinney to put his starters on offense back in the game.
Uiagalelei answered with a six-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown throw to Antonio Williams to extend Clemson’s lead to 41-20 with 6:21 to play.
After Louisiana Tech fumbled the snap, it took Clemson just three plays to add another score on a Kobe Pace plunge into the endzone for a 48-20 Clemson advantage.
Clemson travels to No. 18 Wake Forest next week to take on the undefeated Demon Deacons at noon on ABC.