Notre Dame delivered a crushing blow to No. 4 Clemson by upsetting the Tigers 35-14 in a banner victory for first-year coach Marcus Freeman. The Preventing Irish used a suffocating protection and elite particular groups to frustrate Clemson, limiting the guests to only 281 yards of whole offense and holding the Tigers with no landing till the fourth quarter when the sport was primarily out of attain.
The Preventing Irish’s offense confronted struggles of its personal, however Logan Diggs and Audric Estime each surpassed 100 yards on the bottom as Notre Dame imposed its will in key conditions whereas averaging 5.6 yards per rush. Initially, nevertheless, it was a punt blocked by Jordan Botelho that Prince Kollie returned for a landing within the first quarter that gave the house crew an early edge.
The protection took over from there as Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei struggled to jumpstart the Tigers offensively. Finally, he was changed by five-start true freshman Cade Klubnik late within the third quarter however to no avail. Klubnik’s second move was intercepted, resulting in an Estime landing that made it 21-0 with 14:37 remaining.
Marcus Freeman’s signature victory
After embarrassing dwelling losses to Marshall and Stanford earlier within the season, Freeman wanted a signature win. This one actually qualifies. Clemson has constantly been among the many sport’s prime applications for the previous decade, and the Tigers got here into the week as one among simply six undefeated groups within the sport.
His recruiting work has been stellar; the Preventing Irish at present personal the No. 3-ranked class within the 2023 cycle, per 247Sports. However in his first season as a head coach, Freeman wanted some on-field accolades to pair together with his work on the recruiting path. He is obtained them now, and the Preventing Irish might not be completed but. They determine to be heavy favorites the subsequent two weeks towards Navy and Boston Faculty earlier than an enormous season finale at No. 9 USC. Relying on the place the Trojans are within the nationwide panorama at that time, Notre Dame might have one more likelihood to play the spoiler position on the nationwide stage.
Clemson CFP implications
The loss doesn’t altogether remove Clemson from CFP rivalry, but it surely does make the Tigers’ path to the playoff more difficult. With a win over a well-regarded North Carolina crew within the ACC Championship Sport, Clemson might nonetheless make the CFP area as a one-loss crew, in accordance CBS Sports activities professional Jerry Palm. However they could have to win that recreation convincingly over the No. 17 Tar Heels, who improved to 8-1 with a 31-28 win over Virginia on Saturday.
Clemson nonetheless has three must-win common season video games forward as properly, although the Tigers needs to be heavy favorites in all three contests. Up first is Louisville subsequent week, adopted by Miami and South Carolina to shut the season. All three are dwelling video games.
Clemson quarterback state of affairs
Clemson’s quarterback state of affairs stays unsettled, as evidenced by the truth that coach Dabo Swinney turned to Klubnik for a spark within the second half but once more. However in contrast to in a 27-21 win over Syracuse two weeks in the past, the transfer backfired. Swinney rapidly pulled Klubnik and put Uiagalelei again within the recreation after Klubnik’s first move was intercepted.
The place Swinney goes from right here can be fascinating to see. Although Uiagalelei has clearly improved since final season, the Tigers don’t encourage worry in opponents offensively and Klubnik seems to be this system’s quarterback of the longer term. With Clemson’s CFP hopes on shaky footing, Swinney’s insistence on sticking with Uiagalelei figures to be examined once more within the season’s remaining weeks.