Clemson played its best first half of the season. It wasn’t all pretty for the game’s first 30 minutes, but the Tigers scored 17 points, which is tied for the second-most they’ve scored this season against an FBS team in regulation.
The Tigers hold a 17-13 point lead heading into the break.
While Clemson was finally able to execute offensively, the team’s play was underscored by yet another injury. Mason Trotter was helped off the field late in the first half as the injury bug continued to bite the Tigers. Granted, Trotter switched off back-and-forth with Hunter Rayburn, but Clemson doesn’t have much left from a depth standpoint.
Though Clemson finished the first quarter with four offsides penalties, the Tigers were able to clean up their play for the remaining 15 minutes. Unfortunately, probably the most consequential offsides penalty came on a 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the first quarter. True freshman Payton Page, who was shuffled onto the field for FSU’s goal-line package, was ultimately responsible for a neutral zone infraction.
On the ensuing play, Jordan Travis found Jashaun Corbin on a screen pass for a 1-yard touchdown to cap off a 10-play, 75-yard drive. On the team’s first scoring drive of the game, FSU rushed for 59 total yards, which was highlighted by a 24-yard run from Corbin, which put the Seminoles within Clemson’s 30-yard line. They were also able to capitalize on two offsides penalties from Page and Tré Williams.
FSU took a 6-3 lead as Myles Murphy blocked the extra point.
With a chance to tie the game, B.T. Potter missed a 49-yard Field Goal. He previously made a 47-yarder in the first quarter to give Clemson an early 3-0 lead.
After a quick defensive stop, Clemson switched the field in one play. True freshman running back Phil Mafah followed a lead block from Jordan McFadden and scampered 63 yards to get Clemson back in the red zone. That play was Clemson’s longest from scrimmage this season.
Davis Allen helped put Clemson back in front with a leaping grab in the corner of the endzone. Allen’s 11-yard touchdown, which came on a fade ball on 3rd-and-7, capped off a 4-play, 77-yard drive, which took just 1 minute and 44 seconds off the clock.
On the next play from scrimmage, the Seminoles followed up with an improbable scoring play. Travis found Lawrence Toafili for a 75-yard touchdown to give FSU a 13-10 lead. Toafili beat LaVonta Bentley in coverage and while Sheridan Jones was able to catch up with him, he rolled over the junior cornerback, got back on his feet, and found the endzone.
Clemson again answered with a 10-play, 83-yard touchdown drive (4:28). Will Shipley found the paydirt to give Clemson a 17-13 lead, capped off by a made extra point from Potter.
Uiagalelei completed three passes to Justyn Ross and Jake Briningstool for 31 yards. Shipley and Uiagalelei combined for 51 yards on the ground, though Shipley had rushes of 14 and 22 yards. He finished the first half with 78 rushing yards on 12 attempts and a touchdown. Shipley averaged 6.5 yards per carry, compared to Mafah, who averaged 11.6 yards per carry. 139 of Clemson’s 248 first-half yards came on the ground.
The Seminoles will receive the second-half opening kickoff.