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Uiagalelei’s dual-threat ability gets put on display vs. NC State

Aralynn Minnick, Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) runs past NC State linebacker Payton Wilson (11) during the Tigers’ game against NC State on Oct. 1, 2022. 

Clemson came away with a big Top-10 win over NC State in Week 5 and DJ Uiagalelei’s legs played a big role in the victory.
The junior quarterback had a team-high 73 rushing yards on 14 attempts and added two scores on the ground as well.
After the game, Uiagalelei reflected on how the Tigers utilized an effective quarterback run game in the 30-20 victory.
“In our offense, our quarterbacks are going to run,” he said. “That’s kind of what they’re giving us. When you do quarterback runs, it gives us an extra (blocker) in the box, as the running back will be able to be a lead blocker.”
The NC State defense limited the Tigers’ opportunities for big plays, but Uiagalelei added that he was happy with how the offense performed.
“I thought we did a great job in execution,” he said. “I thought we did a really great job of taking what the defense gave us.”
It was not only his speed but also his agile nature around the field that contributed to Uiagalelei’s success on the ground run.
Notably, one of the signal-caller’s rushing scores came on a 1-yard bootleg in which Uiagalelei was untouched.
“It helps the numbers out in the run game, and it keeps the defense honest,” Uiagalelei said. “When you can run the quarterback and have an effective quarterback run, the defense is limited in what they are able to do.”
With the threat of an effective quarterback run game, Clemson posed a major threat to the NC State defense.
Clemson was able to pick up 145 yards on 38 carries, whilst NC State picked up just 34 yards on 21 carries.
When Uiagalelei wasn’t using his legs to generate yardage, he was doing so through the air.
He completed 70% of his passes for 209 passing yards and one touchdown. It was often the big plays to tight end Jake Briningstool and wide receiver Antonio Williams that showcased Uiagalelei’s dual-threat ability.
There is a newfound confidence in the way Uiagalelei carries himself on the field, and the tempo of the game reflects it. He believes it all starts in the environment that the team creates for itself and how he looks inward to prepare for each game.
“You just don’t listen to the outside noise,” he said. “We feel like we have a team that is inside-out, and we listen to the people on the inside of us. We all believe in each other, and that shows out here in the game.”

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