CLEMSON, S.C. — Despite playing without six starters on the defensive side of the ball, No. 5 Clemson still took care of business Saturday in a 48-20 victory over Louisiana Tech.
Running back Will Shipley rushed for 139 yards and scored two touchdowns, while the defense forced four turnovers to the delight of the 80,542 fans packed into Memorial Stadium.
“It was certainly a fun game to be a part of,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “We got a lot of guys out, a lot of guys. It is a blessing to get the amount of guys that we played experience, especially defensively.
“We ended up having like six guys, six starters out. Sheridan (Jones) went out. But it was great experience for a lot of young guys.”
Besides Jones, who left the game in the first quarter, the Clemson defense was also missing safety Andrew Mukuba, defensive tackles Tyler Davis, Bryan Bresee and Tre Williams and defensive end Xavier Thomas.
But none of that mattered, as the Tigers picked off Bulldogs quarterback Parker McNeil twice, while picking off a third pass on a trick play and recovering a fumble off a bad snap.
The Tigers’ defense kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone for the first three quarters and held Louisiana Tech to only six total rushing yards with an average of 0.3 yards per rush.
Shipley and the Clemson offense cashed in on the four turnovers, scoring 21 points off those turnovers. The sophomore scored on runs of two and 32 yards.
The Tigers (3-0) finished the game with a season-high 521 yards and scored 35 points in the second half. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was 17-of-29 for 221 yards and two scores through the air and picked up 62 yards on the ground on nine carries.
Clemson registered scores on eight of its 13 drives, not including running out the clock on its final possession. With the game set at 13-6 entering the second half, Clemson exploded for three touchdowns, including a twice scoring 32-yard touchdowns on one-play drives. The burst extended the lead to 34-6 with 3:37 to play in the third quarter after Uiagalelei found high school teammate Beaux Collins for a 32-yard touchdown.
“We just wanted to make it known that we should not be in a seven-point game with La. Tech,” Shipley said. “Props to them. They are great football team. A lot of respect towards them.”
After a pair of Bulldog scores early in the fourth, Clemson would tack on two more touchdowns, with Uiagalelei hitting freshman Antonio Williams for a 19-yard score and Kobe Pace punching one in from three yards out after the Tigers recovered a fumble deep in Bulldog territory.
Shipley averaged 11.6 yards per carry Saturday and became the first Clemson player to average at least 10 yards per carry on at least 10 attempts since Travis Etienne in the 2020 ACC Championship Game against Notre Dame. Additionally, Shipley became the first Clemson player to start a season with multiple rushing touchdowns in each of the three first games on record back to 1950.
The Tigers get back in ACC play next week when they travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., and take on No. 18 Wake Forest.
—photo courtesy of Clemson Athletic Communications