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Clemson Football

The Notes: No. 19 Clemson 20, Iowa State 13

December 30, 2021

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Clemson played its seventh one-possession game of the season, improving to 5-2 in those contests. It marked the eighth season in which Clemson played at least seven games decided by eight or fewer points, joining the 1958, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1985 and 2015 seasons (seven each) and 2016 season (eight).

Clemson faced Iowa State for the first time in school history. The Cyclones became the 107th different opponent faced by Clemson all-time. 

Clemson improved to 65-38-4 all-time in its first meeting with its 107 opponents, including a 16-1 mark in first meetings since 2003. Clemson has won 18 of its last 20 games when making its all-time debut against a new opponent.

Head Coach Dabo Swinney made his 18th bowl game appearance (including CFP National Championship Games) as head coach to tie Bobby Bowden’s ACC record (18) for the most career bowl appearances leading an ACC program. (Note: Only 18 of Bowden's 32 total career bowl appearances came during Florida State's years of ACC membership.)

Placekicker B.T. Potter hit 2-of-3 field goals and both of his extra point attempts for eight total points. 

Potter (21-of-26) finished the season having posted only the 11th 20-field-goal season in school history and Clemson’s first since 2015 (Greg Huegel, 27). 

Potter has now kicked multiple field goals in five consecutive games for the first time in his career. In the four games prior to the Cheez-It Bowl, Potter went 3-of-3 against Louisville, UConn and South Carolina and 2-for-2 against Wake Forest.

Potter added a 51-yard field goal in the second quarter, a season long.

Potter’s 51-yard field goal was one-yard shy of the Clemson bowl record for longest field goal, set by Potter himself two years ago against LSU (52 yards). He also added to his single-season (12) and career (26) school records for field goals of 40-plus yards.

With the 51-yarder, Potter added to his Clemson record for career field goals of 50 yards or more with the seventh of his career.

Including his eight points scored on Wednesday to reach the 100-point mark, Potter (101 in 2021) became the first player in Clemson history to score 100 points in three consecutive seasons. Potter scored 118 points in 2019 and 115 points in 2020 and reached the century mark for 2021 on a third-quarter PAT.

Potter will return next season having scored in 42 consecutive contests. He has scored in every game since earning the starting placekicking job prior to the 2019 season. He served as the team's kickoff specialist in 2018. 

Potter missed a 36-yard goal on the final play of the first half, ending a streak of 13 consecutive successful field goal attempts, one shy of Obed Ariri (14 straight in 1980) for the third-longest streak of consecutive field goals made in school history.

Running back Will Shipley finished with 18 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown and five receptions for 53 yards. Running back Kobe Pace finished with 12 carries for 51 yards and four receptions for 38 yards. 

Clemson received the opening kickoff and drove 69 yards in 15 plays, resulting in a 23-yard Potter field goal.

8:08 elapsed during the opening drive, Clemson’s longest drive by time of the season. At the time, the 15-play drive also temporarily tied for the longest drive by plays for Clemson this season, matching a 15-play drive against UConn.

After scoring on its opening possession only once in its first eight games, Clemson finished the season having scored on its opening drive in each of its last five games.

Shipley recorded a career-long 19-yard reception on the game’s opening drive.

In the third quarter, Shipley recorded the game’s first touchdown on a 12-yard touchdown run.

On the touchdown run, Shipley (11) passed C.J. Spiller (10 in 2006) for sole possession of the second-most rushing touchdowns by a Clemson true freshman since 1972. His freshman total trailed only Travis Etienne’s 13 in 2017 in Clemson history.

Shipley’s touchdown run was the culmination of a 16-play, 79-yard drive, supplanting the opening drive and the drive against UConn as Clemson’s longest drive by plays this season and its most since a 16-play drive against Miami (Fla.) in 2020. Clemson finished with three drives of at least 14 plays. 

Wide receiver Dacari Collins had a career-high-tying six receptions for 56 yards on six targets, all in the first half. Four of his six receptions were for first downs. 

Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei completed 21-of-32 passes for 187 yards. His 21 completions tied his season high set against Syracuse and UConn.

Cornerback Mario Goodrich recorded his second interception of the season, returning a batted Brock Purdy pass 18 yards for a touchdown. The interception was Goodrich’s fifth of his career and resulted in his first career touchdown at the collegiate level.

The defensive touchdown was Clemson’s second of the season, joining linebacker Barrett Carter’s fumble return touchdown against Florida State.

With its second defensive touchdown of the year, Clemson has now recorded multiple defensive touchdowns in 12 straight seasons. The last time Clemson had fewer than two defensive touchdowns in a season was 2009, Dabo Swinney's first full season as head coach, when the Tigers supplemented a single defensive touchdown with six special teams touchdowns. 

Goodrich’s interception return touchdown was Clemson’s first since 2019, when Derion Kendrick returned a Florida State interception 38 yards for a score.

Goodrich’s interception return touchdown was Clemson’s first in a bowl game since A.J. Terrell’s pick-six against Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game to end the 2018 season.

Clemson surrendered three points following a Clemson interception at its own 28-yard line in the third quarter. Clemson only allowed 27 points off turnovers this season. However, 21 of those points have come off of two pick-sixes and a strip-sack fumble return, so the Clemson defense has only surrendered three points on possessions following a Clemson turnover this season. Before the Cheez-It Bowl, the only offense to score following a Clemson turnover this year had been South Carolina State, which turned a Michel Dukes fumble at the Clemson 36 into a field goal. 

Goodrich helped seal the victory with a fourth-down forced fumble that left Iowa State short of the line to gain on the Cyclones’ final possession. It was Goodrich’s first career forced fumble on what was likely to be the final snap of his college career.

Clemson held Iowa State to 66 rushing yards, marking Clemson’s first time holding four straight opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards for the first time since a five-game streak to end 2010.

Defensive end K.J. Henry recorded Clemson’s only sack and ends the season having recorded at least a half-sack in four straight games for the first time in his career. His 4.5 sacks this season broke his single-season career high from 2020 (3.5). 

Punter Will Spiers, wide receiver/holder Will Swinney and linebacker James Skalski each played in their 69th career games to extend their school record for most career games played. Among accessible data and responses from FBS Sports Information Directors, the 69 games played by each member of the trio is believed to be a modern FBS record.

Spiers started his 69th game to add to his school and national record for career starts. Swinney's career total as Clemson's primary holder parallels Spiers' run as starting punter. 

Spiers placed three of his punts inside the 20, giving him 27 on the year and placing him one shy of Bradley Pinion's school record for punts downed inside the 20 in a single season (28 in 2014). His 108 career punts downed inside the 20 are Clemson's career record by a wide margin, leading No. 2 Dale Hatcher's 69 from 1981-84.

Four Tigers — OT Jordan McFadden, OL Walker Parks, LB James Skalski and QB DJ Uiagalelei — started and became the only Clemson players to start every game this season on offense or defense. Every other Clemson offensive or defensive starter missed time or played as a reserve at some point in 2021.

Captains for the contest were Clemson’s elected permanent captains for the 2021 season: offensive lineman Matt Bockhorst (injured), wide receiver Will Brown, cornerback Mario Goodrich, wide receiver Justyn Ross (injured), linebacker James Skalski, linebacker Baylon Spector (injured), punter Will Spiers and safety Nolan Turner (injured).

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The Notes: No. 19 Clemson 20, Iowa State 13

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