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Player of the Game: Pittsburgh 43, No. 2 Clemson 42

Nov 12, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Mike Williams (7) carries the ball while Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Dane Jackson (11) attempts the tackle during the first half at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

In Clemson’s 43-42 defeat at the hands of Pittsburgh on Saturday, the Tigers’ passing game took center stage from start to finish. While the quarterback broke school and conference records, it was a wide receiver that enjoyed a career game in his final ACC game at Memorial Stadium.

Fourth-year junior Mike Williams had a monster day catching passes. He caught an outrageous 15 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown in the game, as Deshaun Watson targeted him 16 times over the course of the game. Williams appeared to be a focal point in the gameplan, as Clemson’s offensive braintrust showed the confidence to specifically attack the lanky possession receiver’s mismatches from start to finish.

This has been a season of career bests for Williams. In the opener against Auburn, Williams amassed 174 yards, and against NC State, he caught 12 passes. Both of those numbers went down on Saturday.

The highlight for Williams was a 15-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter that put the Tigers ahead 21-14. His longest completion went for 31 yards on Clemson’s first offensive drive, putting the Tigers into the red zone for the first time.

Big catches would go on to define Williams’ day. Clemson managed to convert 12 of its 18 third-down conversions, and five of them were attributed to Williams. On the Tigers’ first scoring drive, Williams gained 30 yards on a grab to put Clemson into the red zone again. He did the same on a pair of third-down conversions on the Tigers’ second scoring drive.

Of Williams’ six receptions in the fourth quarter, two came to convert short-yardage third downs. Those came in three-catch groups on each of the Tigers’ final two drives of the game.

Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

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