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Clemson takes care of business against Louisville

Katie Bradham, Photo Editor

Clemson running back Will Shipley (1) hurdles a Louisville defender on a 25-yard touchdown run against the Cardinals in Memorial Stadium on Nov. 12, 2022. 

In an all-around team effort, No. 10 Clemson took care of business against Louisville on Saturday night, taking down the Cardinals 31-16 at Memorial Stadium.

Playing complimentary football, the Tigers held Louisville’s offense in check and did enough on offense to come away with the 15-point victory.

Defensively, Clemson (9-1) gave up 400 total yards, but when it mattered most, the unit came through, forcing three turnovers and holding the Cardinals (6-4) scoreless on 11 of their 14 drives.

Responsible for one of those turnovers, linebacker Barrett Carter had a career day. The sophomore finished with 8.0 total tackles (3.5 for loss), two sacks and one interception.

With linebacker Trenton Simpson out with an ankle injury, head coach Dabo Swinney was thoroughly impressed with Carter’s performance, calling the sophomore “one of the best players in my 20 years at Clemson.”

When Carter and the rest of the defense were on the sideline, it was often running back Will Shipley and wide receiver Antonio Williams who ignited Clemson’s offense.

Shipley finished the game with 97 yards on 19 rushing attempts. His lone score came at the 10:32 mark in the third quarter, when he hurdled a Louisville defender, broke two tackles and scampered into the end zone for a 25-yard score, giving the Tigers a commanding 24-7 lead.

“That was one of the greatest touchdowns I’ve ever seen. That was unbelievable,” Swinney said of Shipley’s score. “That’s the definition of ‘Ship Happens’ right there.”

Meanwhile, wide receiver Antonio Williams led the Tigers in receiving, recording a career-high 10 receptions for a team-high 83 receiving yards.

Shipley’s backup, Phil Mafah, also made his mark in the game, rushing for a team-high 106 yards, 39 of which came on a rushing touchdown with 2:13 left in the game.

Throwing to Williams and the other pass-catchers was DJ Uiagalelei, who completed 19 of his 27 passes for 185 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He was also responsible for the game’s opening score, an 11-yard touchdown run just under five minutes into the game.

Coming off back-to-back weeks of getting replaced by freshman Cade Klubnik, Uiagalelei impressed Swinney with his bounce-back performance.

“DJ did an outstanding job,” he said. “He’s had a rough couple of weeks. It just is what it is. This was kind of a do-or-die day. That’s just where we were. And he responded and played his butt off.” 

Still, it wasn’t a perfect performance for the Tigers, as they had three turnovers on the night, one of which were on Shipley, who fumbled two total times in the game.

“Instead of working on the hurdle drill, maybe we’ll work on a ball security drill,” Swinney said of Shipley’s ball security.

The win marked Clemson’s eighth consecutive victory over Louisville, dating back to the first matchup between the two teams in 2014. It was also Clemson’s 39th consecutive win at home, keeping the ACC record alive.

As the Tigers prepare for the final stretch of the regular season, all eyes will now be on Miami, which Clemson plays next Saturday at home. 

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