In the final afternoon, Clemson football had to perform some additional work.
The No. five Tigers (4-0, 2 – 0 Atlantic Coast Conference) had to stay in class for two more classes, however, they came away with excellent marks on our report card following a double-overtime win of 51-45 against No. 16, Wake Forest (3-1, 0-1) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Here’s how we rated things:
Offense The offense is
Clemson began strong, opening 14-0 leads and there was a brief lull for a few minutes following the game. However, the Tigers ended up at 559 yards. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei played the most impressive game of his career. He tallied his remarkable performances in his freshman season, substituting to Trevor Lawrence, going 26-of-41 for 371 yards, with five scores and no interceptions. Will Shipley ran 20 times for 104 yards, and scored a touchdown.
This is the issue: Clemson’s defensive backs endured an awful day, without three of their key players injured. When the Tigers were able to create a pass rushgoing, players who were covering wide receivers appeared to be a bit undermatched. They were penalized for pass interference and were also beaten in patterns, or both. Clemson is desperate to find Andrew Mukuba, Sheridan Jones and Malcolm Greene back on the field as soon as possible. However, the rest of the players need to improve.
Special teams A-
Place-kicker B.T. Potter’s initials are meant to stand for Beyond Trustworthy. He scored a record-breaking 52-yard field goal towards the final minute of regulation. He’s an impressive 8-for-10 on kicks that go beyond 50 yards. He was able to nail some chip shots, if not according to his standards, at the 34- and 28-yard range. The runner Aidan Swanson shanked a 21-yarder and another was an in-line drive that could have be a danger. The returns were flawless. Overall, it was a great day.
The defense was having issues with pass protection however, it didn’t appear to be a problem with the coaching. The offense, although solid, did have a baffling play-call on third-and-2, as the left-handed Uiagalelei turned left and eliminated the majority of the receiver possibilities. Clemson has also had a great red-zone chance in the opening half, but they left Shipley in the middle. In the second half, backup Phil Mafah busted a play. On fourth-and-2 it would’ve been great to have Shipley on the field to accomplish something, instead of just settling for field goal.
The way they describe it during NCAA basketball March Madness, survive and advance. Clemson was able to defeat the current Atlantic Division champion of the ACC and is now in charge of the outcome. There’s plenty to learn from however, a win like this, regardless of the manner in which it occurred, will provide nothing but Clemson Tigers the confidence they need to succeed.