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Clemson Football

The Notes: Clemson 30, Louisville 24

November 7, 2021

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Clemson overcame a 24-17 deficit after three quarters for the win. Including overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit against Florida State last week, Clemson has now won back-to-back games with fourth-quarter comebacks for the first time in the Dabo Swinney era.  

The win was Clemson’s 11th under Swinney in which the Tigers have entered the fourth quarter trailing. It was Clemson’s first since Oct. 31 last year against Boston College. (Note: Clemson led entering the fourth quarter last week but trailed after a Florida State touchdown with under eight minutes to play.)

The game was Clemson’s sixth of the season decided by eight or fewer points. With three regular season games remaining, the 2021 season is already the 22nd season in school history in which Clemson has played at least six games decided by eight or fewer points and is two games shy of the school record (eight in 2016).

Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei completed 18-of-30 passes for a season-high 220 yards with two passing touchdowns and no interceptions for a season-high 143.6 pass efficiency rating. He also added one rushing touchdown.

Uiagalelei gave Clemson the late lead — its first of the game — on an eight-yard touchdown run with 4:12 remaining. The rushing touchdown was his career-high-tying fourth of the season.

Clemson scored on its opening drive, a three-play, 75-yard drive that concluded with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Uiagalelei to wide receiver Beaux Collins.

The touchdown reception was the first of Collins’ collegiate career but not the first of his lifetime from Uiagalelei. The two were teammates at St. John Bosco High School in California.

The 46-yard touchdown pass from Uiagalelei to Collins was Clemson’s second-longest pass completion of the season (Uiagalelei to Joseph Ngata for 54 yards against Boston College). It was Clemson’s longest passing touchdown of the year.

Collins finished with a career-high 104 yards on six receptions.

The 100-yard receiving game was the first of Collins’ career and the first by a Clemson true freshman since Justyn Ross recorded 153 yards against Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game to end the 2018 season.

Collins’ 100-yard receiving game was Clemson’s third of the season, joining 100-yard performances by Joseph Ngata against Georgia and Boston College.

Clemson evened the score, 17-17, with 18 seconds remaining in the first half on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Uiagalelei to tight end Davis Allen.

Allen has now caught a touchdown in back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game streak against Miami (Fla.), Georgia Tech and Syracuse last season.

Quarterback Taisun Phommachanh recorded a career-long 26-yard run on his first snap of the game. 

With five receptions for 58 yards, wide receiver Justyn Ross extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 36 to tie Jerry Butler (36 consecutive games from 1975-78) for the third-longest streak in school history.

During the game, Ross (2,340) passed Derrick Hamilton (2,312) for 10th on Clemson's leaderboard for career receiving yards.

Linebacker Trenton Simpson recorded a career-high 2.0 sacks.

Simpson recorded a sack upon forcing Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham into an intentional grounding in the second quarter. Simpson has now recorded a sack in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.

Simpson added his second sack on a third-down stop in the fourth quarter with Clemson trailing by four.

Simpson was also credited with a career-high 10 tackles, surpassing his eight earlier in the season at NC State.

Safety Andrew Mukuba recorded his first career sack on a fourth-down stop to give Clemson the ball back with a three-point lead and 2:40 remaining. 

Linebacker James Skalski was credited with a sack on Louisville’s final play, Clemson’s fourth sack of the contest.

Clemson has now recorded at least four sacks against consecutive opponents for the first time since a four-game streak across the final two games of 2019 and first two games of 2020.

Running back Will Shipley recorded a 75-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. It was the longest kickoff return by Clemson since a 77-yard return by Artavis Scott against Louisville in 2016. Scott now serves as an offensive graduate assistant on Clemson’s staff.

One week after going 1-for-4 on field goals vs. Florida State, kicker B.T. Potter responded by going 3-for-3 on field goals and 3-for-3 on PATs for 12 points in the six-point win.

On a 38-yard second-quarter field goal, kicker Potter (299 career points) passed Obed Ariri (288 from 1977-80) for the ninth-most career points in Clemson history. Potter also passed Ariri for fifth in kicking points in school history. 

On a 34-yard fourth-quarter field goal, Potter (299) also passed James Davis (294 from 2005-08) for eighth in career points in school history.

Punter Will Spiers started his 65th game to add to his school record for career starts. Wide receiver/holder Will Swinney's career total as Clemson's primary holder parallels Spiers' run as starting punter.

Spiers, Swinney and linebacker James Skalski each played in their 65th career games to extend their school record for most career games played.

Clemson allowed a touchdown on Louisville’s first possession. It snapped a streak of eight straight games to open a season in which Clemson had not allowed a score on an opponent’s first drive of the game. 

Conversely, Clemson scored an opening-drive touchdown for the second time this season and the first time since Sept. 11 vs. South Carolina State.

The game was tied 17-17 at halftime, only the 10th time under Head Coach Dabo Swinney that the Tigers have been tied after two quarters. Clemson improved to 7-3 under Swinney in games tied at halftime, earning its first such win since 2019 at North Carolina. 

Clemson played back-to-back games in the series in Louisville for the first time. After most recently playing in Louisville in 2019, a scheduled game between the two teams at Clemson in 2020 was removed when the ACC instituted its pandemic-adjusted schedule for that season. 

Captains for the contest were tight end Davis Allen, cornerback Andrew Booth Jr.,  punter Will Spiers and defensive end Xavier Thomas.

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The Notes: Clemson 30, Louisville 24

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