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Photo by © Susan Lloyd/Clemson Sports Talk

Learned, Loved, Loathed: Tigers on a roll after win over No. 20 UNC

November 20, 2023
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Learned:

- With injuries keeping Jalyn Phillips‍ and Jeadyn Lukus‍ from playing, Clemson’s defensive back group showed off its depth against Drake Maye‍ and UNC’s top-ten offense. Andrew Mukuba‍ had his best game of the season with a trio of pass breakups, and Nate Wiggins solidified his status as a first-round pick in front of a press box littered with NFL scouts. Wiggins forced a touchdown-saving fumble, intercepted a pass to seal the deal late, and provided blanket coverage of UNC receiver Tez Walker.

- Tomarrion Parker showcased his game-wrecking ability with a sack and tackle for loss in the first half. A strong finish to the season would likely earn him a spot on the freshman All-American team.

- David Eziomume‍’s commitment to Clemson is firm. Flip rumors swirled around the four-star running back throughout the week, but he publicly reaffirmed his commitment to Clemson.

Loved:

- Clemson is peaking at the right time. They’ve won all three matchups in November, defeated a pair of ranked opponents, and scored 30+ points in each game.

- Clemson’s run game was firing on all cylinders with 247 yards against UNC. Will Shipley‍ (126 yards, 1 TD) and Phil Mafah‍ (84 yards, 1 TD) showcased the team’s ability to take over games on the ground and helped fuel one of the team’s best rushing performances of the season.

Loathed:

- There’s not much to detest about a top-20 win, so this section will be short. I know this sounds corny, but we loathe that we will never see seniors like Xavier Thomas‍, Ruke Orhorhoro‍, and Tyler Davis‍ play in Death Valley again. 

- It feels like we have seen the last of Shipley at Clemson. While he played his best game of the season against UNC, his future at Clemson is up in the air. The third-year running back ran down the hill with the seniors on senior day, which does not alone indicate that he is leaving. In a postgame interview, Shipley mentioned he has a tough decision ahead but did not specify whether he is contemplating transferring or declaring for the NFL Draft. He is currently graded as a round 3-5 draft pick and likely would be one of the most coveted players in the transfer portal if he chose to enter. Whatever his decision, Shipley enjoyed a fantastic collegiate career at Clemson, and it would be hard to watch him go.

Full game report (video with interview clips):

 

 

 
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