With starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence unavailable due to Covid-19 protocol, along with a string of defensive injuries and mistakes, top-ranked Clemson fell in Saturday’s 47-40 heavyweight bout to No. 4 Notre Dame.
However, there were several shining lights in the loss, including the play veteran receiver Cornell Powell, who stepped up once again for the Tigers.
Powell, who finished the night with six receptions for a career-high 161 yards and one touchdown, has quickly become one of freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei’s prime targets. Last week, against Boston College, the two connected 11 times for 106 yards.
The chemistry between Powell and Uiagalelei reigned true throughout the night at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. One his first catch of the night, Powell and Uiagalelei got the Tigers on the board thanks to a 53-yard touchdown connection with 4:11 left in the first quarter.
The two continued to connect throughout the night, as they later hooked up for a 51-yard reception which led to a game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter.
On the next drive, Powell tacked on another reception for 15 yards to the three-yard line, setting up Travis Etienne’s three-yard touchdown, which gave the Tigers their first lead of the night, 33-26, with 3:33 left in regulation.
While the Fighting Irish came back with an answer late in the fourth quarter to force overtime, Powell hauled in a 24-yard slant to the Notre Dame one on the first play of overtime. Uiagalelei was able to get into the end zone on the next play to put the Tigers ahead, briefly, once again.
Notre Dame continued to hang in and took advantage of Clemson’s tired defense in double overtime, eventually outlasting the Tigers and claiming the win.
Despite the loss though, all eyes were on the chemistry being built between Powell and Uiagalelei and the impressive plays they will continue to create when it matters most.