Leading Georgia Tech by eight points in the final seconds of Saturday’s game, and the ball at the Clemson 2-yard line, the Tigers were attempting to run out the clock and – after taking a delay of game penalty following an unsuccessful attempt to draw the Yellow Jackets offside – D.J. Uiagalelei handed the ball off to freshman running back Will Shipley out of the shotgun formation from the 1-yard line.
Shipley then fumbled before recovering his own fumble in the end zone, resulting in a safety that cut Georgia Tech’s deficit to six points. Following the ensuing kickoff, the Yellow Jackets had the ball with seven seconds left at their own 25-yard line and needed a miracle to win the game, but the Tigers got a stop as time expired to seal a 14-8 victory at Death Valley.
After the game, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talked about the end-of-game sequence and said the Tigers almost decided to take a safety in that situation anyway.
“I really contemplated that,” Swinney said. “That was something that I thought about snapping it to D.J. and taking a slow safety there and run around a little bit and then maybe leave them three seconds or four seconds. But we decided to hand it, go ahead and run it out. We hard-counted, thinking we’ve got nothing to lose in that situation. If they jump off, you get five yards. If they don’t, we’ll take a delay and lose an inch. So, it was kind of a good time to take a shot at that. But it worked out. We’re fortunate. The ball gets on the ground, Shipley came up with it. They said he recovered it in the end zone, so that’s a safety by rule.”
Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott also commented on the play that resulted in a safety and was asked why the Tigers ran the play with Uiagalelei in the shotgun.
“That’s just what we do,” Elliott said. “It’s what we’ve always done. We definitely thought about going under, but we’ve got a young quarterback and we just went with what we’re comfortable with.”
Clemson Variety & Frame is doing their part to help bring you some classic new barware and help one of the local businesses that helps make Clemson special.
Order your Nick’s barware and do your part to help. #SaveNicks