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Halftime musings: Clemson up big vs. Notre Dame

Ashleigh Snyder
Clemson running back Phil Mafah scored a 41-yard touchdown in the first quarter on Saturday to give the Tigers a 7-3 lead over Notre Dame.

Clemson leads Notre Dame 24-9 at halftime. Here are a few notes and takeaways from the first two quarters:

Offense/Special Teams

— Phil Mafah is making the most of his time as the RB1; he ran in for a 41-yard touchdown to fire up Death Valley and put Clemson in front early. Domonique Thomas made the most of his opportunities as well, headlined by an exciting 10-yard run that broke several tackles. Mafah leads the running backs with 11 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. 

— Clemson recovered a muffed punt by the Irish, recovered by long snapper Philip Florenzo. That takeaway gave the Tigers great field position and set up a Jonathan Weitz 21-yard field goal. The Tigers have had no problems on the special teams side of the ball, which has been a struggle for the team throughout the season. 

— After a shaky first quarter, Cade Klubnik looked more comfortable in the second quarter, making passes to tight end Sage Ennis and receiver Beaux Collins. Those plays eventually set up Tyler Brown to catch an 11-yard touchdown to give Clemson a 17-6 lead. Klubnik has completed 7 of 13 for 61 yards and a touchdown. 


Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. had the biggest play of the first half, picking off quarterback Sam Hartman for a 28-yard pick six, giving the Tigers a commanding 24-6 lead with 8:33 left in the second quarter. Through two quarters, Trotter has six total tackles (1.5 for loss), one sack and one interception. 

— Clemson’s defense gave up multiple big plays on the ground in the first half, beginning with two big runs by Notre Dame running back Audric Estime for a combined 48 yards on the first drive of the game. Estime had a dominant game against the Tigers last season, rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

The Tigers also allowed Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman to run for a 38-yard gain late in the first quarter. Overall, Clemson allowed 6.1 yards per carry in the first half.

— DeMonte Capehart got a massive tackle for loss on second down for a loss of two yards on Notre Dame’s second offensive drive. Trotter followed Capehart’s play with a sack on third down, forcing a Notre Dame punt. 

— Clemson defensive end Xavier Thomas deflected a pass on third down early in the second quarter, forcing a Notre Dame field goal. 

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About the Contributors
Griffin Barfield
Griffin Barfield, Asst. Sports Editor
Justin Robertson
Justin Robertson, Associate Editor
Ashleigh Snyder
Ashleigh Snyder, Photo Editor
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