Clemson freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei did not appear in the top-ranked Tigers’ 73-7 blowout of Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Saturday.
Backup signal-callers Taisun Phommachanh, Hunter Helms and Will Spiers took all the snaps after Trevor Lawrence was removed from the game early in the third quarter with the Tigers up by 45 points.
During his postgame interview with the media, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney spoke about why Uiagalelei didn’t play against the Yellow Jackets.
“We played everybody. The only guy that didn’t play was D.J. Uiagalelei,” Swinney said. “He was available, but we were going to try not to play him because he was still a little sore. So, we didn’t want to play him unless we just had to, so that’s going to be a blessing for him getting back going. Practiced all week, but just limited.”
Swinney didn’t want to further comment on Uiagalelei’s injury when asked a follow-up question about what specific injury he is dealing with.
“I’m not going to get into specifics of anything other than he was just sore,” Swinney said. “He got beat up a little bit in the game last week (vs. Miami), and we just wanted to hold him.”
Uiagalelei has played in four games so far this season, completing 11 of his 16 passes for 91 yards while rushing for 32 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.
With Uiagalelei sidelined, Phommachanh entered the game first after Lawrence exited and completed 2 of his 6 passes for 9 yards. Freshman walk-on Hunter Helms was the third quarterback in and went 5-of-7 passing for 74 yards with touchdown passes to Kobe Pace and Ajou Ajou in the fourth quarter.
Spiers, Clemson’s starting punter and emergency QB, recorded a couple of completions for 13 yards on three attempts.
“Taisun had a great opportunity today, did some good things. Disappointed that he wasn’t able to finish,” Swinney said. “But a great opportunity for Helms. Even got Spiers in there to get some emergency work done.”
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