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Halftime musings: Clemson leads FAU 34-0

Tigers dominate Owls in first 2 quarters
Toby Corriston
Clemson true freshman wide receiver Tyler Brown (6) recorded his first career touchdown on Saturday, connecting with Cade Klubnik on a 30-yard score.

Clemson leads FAU 34-0 at halftime. Here are some notes and takeaways from the first half:

Offense/Special Teams 

— Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik looked much more comfortable, collected and confident in the pocket than in the two previous games. The sophomore signal-caller finished the first half with 28 rushing yards, including a 1-yard quarterback sneak in the second quarter to give Clemson a commanding 34-0 lead. Klubnik also threw for 148 yards and two touchdowns, completing 13 of 17 pass attempts.

— Klubnik’s first score of the half was to true freshman wide receiver Tyler Brown, who caught a 30-yard touchdown for his first career score as a Tiger. His second passing touchdown was to junior tight end Jake Briningstool for a 7-yard touchdown —Briningstool’s first score of the season. 

— Robert Gunn III is still looking shaky. The redshirt freshman kicker missed the PAT after Clemson’s second touchdown and shanked a 31-yard field goal attempt far left into The Hill. Clemson’s special teams had a shining moment as it stopped an FAU fake punt attempt in the first quarter, setting the Tigers’ offense back up in FAU territory. 

— Sophomore wide receiver Antonio Williams got dinged up in the first quarter and had to go to the medical tent but returned to the game in the second quarter.

— On the ground, Phil Mafah averaged 10.3 yards per carry on four attempts, one of which was a 19-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter. Fan-favorite Will Shipley has not been as active in tonight’s matchup. The junior running back recorded 38 yards on 10 carries in the first half. 

— It was once again musical chairs along certain positions of the Tigers’ offensive line, as Mitchell Mayes started at right guard for the Tigers, stepping in for Walker Parks, who is out with injury. Collin Sadler also got the start at left tackle over Tristan Leigh. Leigh eventually took over for Sadler, and the two generally split playing time in the second quarter. 


— Junior cornerback Nate Wiggins intercepted FAU quarterback Casey Thompson for a 46-yard pick-six on the opening drive of the game, giving the Tigers an early 7-0 lead. It marked Wiggins’ second career pick-six, the first of which was a 98-yard return against North Carolina in last year’s ACC Championship game. 

— Stepping in for the injured Andrew Makuba, Khalil Barnes had an impressive first half and was all over the field playing at nickel. The true freshman recorded four total tackles (one for loss), one interception and one forced fumble. He recorded his first career interception in the first quarter. He also made the tackle for loss on FAU’s first offensive drive of the game, setting up Wiggins’ pick-six on the next play. 

He did get burnt on a deep ball on FAU’s second drive of the game, but Thompson overthrew the receiver and the pass was incomplete. On the ensuing play, Barnes recorded a pass breakup to force an FAU punt. Overall, it was a dominant first-half performance for the former three-star recruit. 

— True freshman defensive end T.J. Parker recorded his first career sack with just over eight minutes left in the second quarter. While Parker is listed behind Xavier Thomas and Justin Mascoll on the depth chart, he has been making the most of his opportunities through the first three games of the season. 

— Defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin dialed up pressure late in the second quarter, setting up safety Jalyn Phillips to record a sack on third down and force a punt. It was Phillips’ first career sack in five years as a Tiger. 

— Saturday’s game against FAU has been by far the best defensive and all-around performance for Clemson this year. Not only did the Tigers keep the Owls off the scoreboard, but they also held them to 94 total yards and 1 for 8 on third downs while forcing two turnovers. 

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About the Contributors
Blake Mauro
Blake Mauro, Editor-in-Chief
Justin Robertson
Justin Robertson, Associate Editor
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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