LOUISVILLE, Ky. — By the time D.J. Uiagalelei was through with Louisville’s defense Saturday, Clemson’s quarterback had thrown for more yards against the Cardinals than anybody else this season.
At the center of that performance was a connection that’s been all too familiar for him.
No receiver was targeted by Uiagalalei more than Beaux Collins, who had nine passes thrown his way. Collins caught six of them for 104 yards, both season-highs for the true freshman.
“He played a great game,” Uiagalelei said.
Uiagalelei knows what that looks like from Collins, whom he played with during their prep days at St. John Bosco in California before reuniting this season at Clemson. In his first season with the Tigers, Collins has gradually worked his way into being a consistent part of the rotation out wide.
Fighting for playing time amid a deep receiving corps at the beginning of the season, Collins had just three receptions through the first five games. But injuries to E.J. Williams (thumb ligament, knee) created more opportunity for Collins in the slot, where he got his most extensive playing time against Pittsburgh two weeks ago.
He caught five passes in that game, though that doesn’t mean there haven’t been chances for more. Collins got bits of playing time early in the season and had a dropped pass in the red zone against North Carolina State in the fourth game.
But Collins was targeted early and often against Louisville. He hauled in a 46-yard touchdown catch on Clemson’s third play from scrimmage Saturday, the Tigers’ second longest pass play of the season. Collins also had a 21-yard catch and a 13-yarder as part of a 220-yard passing day for Uiagalelei.
“I have a comfortability with Beaux,” Uiagalelei said. “We played together for three or four years at Bosco. We have a lot of time and chemistry together.”
That should only continue the more the duo continues to play together at Clemson, too.
“Beaux stepped up for us (Saturday),” offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “Really, really proud of him because if you look early in the season, he had a couple of drops that he battled through. He came up big.”
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