With backs against the wall, Clemson’s offense finally comes through

With backs against the wall, Clemson’s offense finally comes through


With backs against the wall, Clemson’s offense finally comes through


Let’s be honest, when Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson stripped the football from D.J. Uiagalelei and rumbled into the end zone from six yards out, Clemson’s chances of beating the Seminoles seemed bleak.

Johnson’s touchdown gave FSU a three-point lead with 7:39 to play. Not just on Saturday, but all season the Tigers’ offense has given their fans little reason to believe they could muster up a game-winning drive.

But they did.

Running back Will Shipley had his best run of the season when he made several would-be tacklers miss on a 21-yard touchdown with 2:53 to go, lifting Clemson to a dramatic 30-20 victory over the Seminoles at Death Valley.

“I think this is the type of game where they can see what they can do,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “Again, when their back was against the wall, they gave up the score. You are frustrated, missed kicks. You got all of this stuff. You are not getting the kind of pay day for the amount of work you are putting in for the success you are having, that can be frustrating.

“They hung in there, and when they had to have it, they put it together. It was awesome. Hopefully, we can all gain some confidence from that drive.”

Johnson’s touchdown gave the ‘Noles a 20-17 lead with 7:39 to go. The Tigers (5-3, 4-2 ACC) did not bounce back initially. FSU forced a three-and-out and everyone wondered if Clemson would get the football back.

But the defense stepped up and forced its own three-and-out, giving the ball back to the offense with 3:48 to play.

On first down, Uiagalelei drew a pass interference penalty on a pass to Beaux Collins. He then ran two yards and then five on a second run. However, FSU linebacker DJ Lundy tackled Uiagalelei out of bounds, moving the ball to the Seminoles’ 21.

On the next play, Shipley took the ball up the middle, made the first guy miss and then broke two tackles while carrying a fourth defender into the end zone.

“To be able to find the hole, make two people miss and be able to get to the end zone, that was huge for my confidence,” said Shipley, who rushed for a career-high 128 yards and two touchdowns.

It was huge for the entire Clemson offense. Finally, they found a way to win a game this season instead of finding a way to lose it.

“For those guys, with their backs against the wall, to go out there and have some success, that is what this offense needed,” offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “Hopefully, these guys will show back up on Monday with a little more confidence and the fact that this is what they are capable of. You can play just as well as you want to. It is all about us. We just need to make sure we are committed play in and play out to be able to play consistently for four-quarters of good football.”

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