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Clemson Football

Heard in the Press Box: No. 5 Clemson 27, No. 14 Syracuse 21

October 24, 2022
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The Tigers improved to 8-0 after a 27-21 win over Syracuse in Clemson. Take a sneak peek into the press box to find out what the chatter was during the Tigers' season opener.

The top quotes of the day:

- "When you are -3 in turnover margin, give up a defensive touchdown, and still find a way to win- that's a hard thing to do." – Clemson reporter

- "I don't care if they win by one point every game. Just keep winning." – Clemson reporter

This wasn't from a press box reporter, but it does merit a mention. In his postgame press conference, Dabo Swinney said this about the Syracuse matchup:

Rumbled:

The Clemson run game was strong today, and overcame a pair of fumbles to produce the team's highest rushing yards total of the season. The Tigers picked up 293 yards rushing, surpassing the team's previous high of 280 yards against Louisiana Tech in September. Will Shipley‍ led the charge with 172 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a 50-yard breakaway score that fueled Clemson's second-half momentum. The touchdown put Clemson up 24-21 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and the Tigers never looked back. After two early fumbles, Clemson's second-half resilience in the run game was impressive. 

Stumbled:

Clemson turned the ball over four times in the first three quarters. The Tigers trailed 21-10 in the second half due to the team's inability to find traction on the offensive side of the ball. D.J. Uiagalelei‍ tossed two interceptions and fumbled once. Will Shipley also had an uncharacteristic fumble – but made up for it on the 50-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Turning Point:

The most significant turning point in the game was when Clemson inserted Cade Klubnik‍ at quarterback in place of D.J. Uiagalelei. In his postgame press conference, Swinney noted that he put Klubnik in because it was "a different pitch." The Tigers desperately needed momentum and scored on the first drive that the former five-star quarterback played in the third quarter. He led the team to a comeback from an 11-point deficit.

As soon as Klubnik was inserted into the game, it ignited a spark among the crowd and brought new energy to Death Valley. He wasn't asked to do much as a passer, going 2-4 for 19-yards. Klubnik also completed a crucial two-point conversion pass in the fourth quarter to Joseph Ngata‍. 

Following the game, Clemson players and coaches were immediately asked about a potential quarterback controversy at Clemson. Offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter shut down the rumors, stating that there is "absolutely not" a controversy. He also said that following the game, D.J. Uiagalelei told him, "All I want to do is win." Uiagalelei is the team’s offensive leader and will be the starter for the Notre Dame game after the bye week. 

Unsung hero: 

Will Shipley's 172-yard, two-touchdown performance stands out – but backup running back Phil Mafah‍ quietly had a spectacular performance. He added 94 yards and a touchdown, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Mafah punished the Syracuse defense and helped take pressure off Clemson's quarterbacks, especially in the second half when Cade Klubnik entered the game.

Key stat:

Clemson's defense had five sacks and nine tackles for loss. The team's depth, especially on the defensive front, elevated the team to a win – and helped the team make stops when needed.

Discussion from...

Heard in the Press Box: No. 5 Clemson 27, No. 14 Syracuse 21

1,134 Views | 0 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by lukewinstel
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