The 4-1-1 on Clemson's win over Furman

The 4-1-1 on Clemson's win over Furman

Football

The 4-1-1 on Clemson's win over Furman

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No. 4 Clemson dispatched of Furman this afternoon at Memorial Stadium to improve its record to 2-0 on the young season. Here are four sequences that went a long way in determining the outcome, a turning point and a telling stat from the Tigers’ 35-12 win.

  • Unlike its opener five days earlier, Clemson’s offense got off to a fast start when D.J. Uiagalelei went up top to connect with Beaux Collins for a 40-yard completion on the third play of the game. Three snaps later, Uiagalelei again exploited Furman’s man coverage when he found Joseph Ngata over the middle for a 26-yard connection to Furman’s 1-yard line. Running back Will Shipley capped a seven-play, 75-yard opening drive with a 1-yard scoring run on the next play to quickly put the Tigers ahead, 7-0, less than four minutes into the game.
  • The Tigers wasted little time answering Furman’s first points on their second possession. Clemson, behind four more completions from Uiagalelei, didn’t face a third down on the drive until it reached Furman’s 27. Uiagalelei then found freshman Antonio Williams on the money down for a 14-yard gain inside the Paladins’ 10. After Phil Mafah got the Tigers a little closer with a 6-yard run on the next play, Uiagalelei whipped a second-down pass out to tight end Jake Briningstool, who trotted untouched into the end zone for a 2-yard score to make it a 14-3 advantage for Clemson late in the opening quarter.
  • After getting Furman’s offense off the field for the first time early in the second quarter, Clemson’s offense again went to work adding to its lead, though it took a little more effort than the first two drives. The Tigers converted their initial third down of the possession when Uiagalelei found tight end Davis Allen over the middle for a 23-yard strike, but Shipley was later stuffed for no gain on third-and-short in Furman territory. Clemson elected to go, and Uiagalelei picked up 3 yards on fourth down to keep the drive going at the Paladins’ 28. A holding penalty on Ngata later pushed the Tigers behind the chains, but Shipley erased the miscue by weaving through Furman’s defense for a 17-yard touchdown run to give Clemson a 21-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
  • Furman took the opening kickoff of the second half and used a big gainer on a screen pass to convert a long third down, which set the Paladins up with a fresh set of downs near midfield. But quarterback Tyler Huff tried to fit his next pass into a tight window underneath. Cornerback Fred Davis deflected the pass into the air and into the waiting arms of linebacker Barrett Carter for the interception. Clemson was in the end zone a few plays later on Uiagalelei’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Collins, giving the Tigers a comfortable 35-9 lead with 10 minutes, 8 seconds left in the third quarter.

Turning point

Furman continued its rather easy first half moving the ball on Clemson’s defense when Huff connected with Ryan Miller for a 25-yard touchdown to cut the Tigers’ lead to two scores late in the first half. But after a three-and-out with freshman Cade Klubnik at the controls of the offense the previous possession, Clemson reinserted D.J. Uiagalelei at quarterback and took back the momentum. Uiagalelei led the Tigers on their fourth touchdown drive of the opening half, which included a third-down conversion to Brannon Spector and a long completion to Antonio Williams on a broken play. Kobe Pace finished it with a 1-yard scoring plunge to give Clemson a 28-9 halftime lead, the start of 14 straight points scored by the Tigers to quell any thoughts of an upset despite some late miscues by the home team.

Telling stat: 77.7

That was Uiagalelei’s completion percentage, making for the highest completion rate of his career at Clemson when playing extended snaps. The Tigers’ starter set the tone for his strong day with six straight completions and went 15 of 18 on the first four drives he led, all of which ended in touchdowns. Two of his completions went for touchdowns, which included a well-placed ball over the shoulder of Collins near the front corner of the end zone. It continued a strong start to the season in the accuracy department for Uiagalelei, who has completed 67.7% of his passes through two games – 12 percentage points higher than last season.

 

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