For a second straight week Clemson had its issue in the first half. Just like a replay of last week’s Boston College game, the Tigers allowed another opening touchdown drive, gave up big plays and allowed a defensive touchdown while falling behind by double digits.
The end result, the top-ranked Tigers trail No. 4 Notre Dame, 23-13, at the break.
Back-to-back turnovers allowed Notre Dame to build its lead after Clemson had rallied to cut the Irish leads to 13-10 with 8:32 to play in the second quarter, following a 25-yard B.T. Potter field goal.
After Notre Dame scored on its first three possessions to build a 13-10 lead, the Tigers finally got a stop and got the ball at their own 31. However, on the first play of the drive, Etienne fumbled the pitch from D.J. Uiagalelei and the ball bounced right in the hands of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who took the ball 23 yards for a touchdown and a 20-10 lead with 5:53 to play before halftime.
On the Tigers’ ensuring possession, Amari Rodger got a slant pass from Uiagalelei for what appeared to be a first down, but the ball was stripped, and Notre Dame recovered the ball at the Clemson 25. That set up a Jonathan Doerer 45-yard field goal, extending the lead to 23-10 with 2:41 to play before the break.
Clemson added a 45-yard field goal from Potter with 1:02 to before the half, making the score 23-13.
The Irish opened the game with a 65-yard touchdown run from Kyren Williams. He finished the half with 102 of Notre Dame’s 144 rushing yards.
After falling behind 10-0, Clemson finally got on the board with Uiagalelei hit Cornell Powell for 53-yard touchdown, making the score 10-7 with 4:11 to play in the first quarter.