SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Clemson got what it deserved Saturday night – a good ole fashion butt kicking.
Notre Dame dominated both lines of scrimmage, used a block punt, an interception to set up a touchdown and pick six, as the Irish walloped No. 4 Clemson, 35-14, at Notre Dame Stadium.
“I always tell our team, you get what you earn, and we earned this tonight for sure,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
The Tigers’ loss to Notre Dame (6-3) snapped their 14-game winning streak, which had been the longest in the country.
On a side note, despite the loss, and by virtue of Pitt’s win over Syracuse earlier in the day, Clemson clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game, which takes place on Dec. 3 in Charlotte.
But right now, that does not matter, as Clemson (8-1) tries to regroup after Saturday’s stunning performance.
“They absolutely dominated us in every facet of football,” Swinney said. “Starting with coaching, blocking, tackling, you name it. They dominated us.”
Defensively, Clemson held the Irish to 348 yards and 85 through the air, but the Irish accumulated 263 rushing yards. Running back Will Shipley led Clemson with 101 all-purpose yards, 63 of which came on the ground, and added a rushing touchdown. In the air, tight end Davis Allen led the team in receptions with seven for 60 yards.
A special teams break down allowed Notre Dame to get on the scoreboard in the first quarter. With 9:08 left in the stanza, Prince Kollie returned Jordan Botelho’s blocked punt 17 yards for a touchdown.
The Irish took a 14-0 lead with 38 seconds left in the half when quarterback Drew Ryne ran the in from four yards out to cap an 11-play, 78-yard drive.
Trying to provide a spark, Swinney replaced starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei with freshman Cade Klubnik late in the third quarter. On his second play from scrimmage, and deep in his own territory, Klubnik rolled to his left, and while trying to avoid being sack, he threw the football to the middle of the field where Notre Dame’s Benjamin Morrison was waiting to intercept the pass at the Clemson 17-yard line.
The interception set up a two-yard touchdown run by Audric Estime early in the fourth quarter to increase the lead to 21-0.
Uiagalelei returned to action on Clemson’s next possession, but after leading the Tigers into scoring position he threw an errant pass to Joseph Ngata, which Morrison intercepted and it took back 96 yards for a touchdown and 28-0 lead.
Shipley got the Tigers on the scoreboard with 10:14 left in the fourth quarter, as he punched the ball into the end zone with a one-yard touchdown.
Notre Dame added another touchdown with 4:16 left. The Clemson scored the game’s final points, as Uiagalelei threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Ngata.
With its 2022 road slate now complete, Clemson will conclude the regular season with a three-game homestand against Louisville, Miami and South Carolina. The Tigers host Louisville at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday.
–Clemson Athletic Communications Contributed to this story