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Uiagalelei leads Tigers past Furman

Aralynn Minnick, Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) takes a run against Furman on Sept. 10, 2022 at Memorial Stadium. 

No. 5 Clemson came away with a 35-12 victory over Furman in the Tigers’ first home game of the season on Saturday.

Unlike what fans saw against Georgia Tech, Clemson’s offense started hot in the first half.

Led behind quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, the Tigers got out to a 28-9 lead at the end of the first half. In the first half, Uiagalelei completed 83.3% of his passes for 203 yards and a touchdown.

The junior signal-caller finished the game completing 77.7% of his passes for 231 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. 

Not only was Uiagalelei having a great day throwing the ball, but his new and improved speed was on full display. With the win over the Paladins, he also picked up 36 total rushing yards on five attempts. 

The way Uiagalelei possessed control over the ball from start to finish in this game embodied much of what the coaching staff and his teammates have expressed about his improvement since last season.

For head coach Dabo Swinney, Uiagalelei’s performance was impressive. 

“(I’m) proud of DJ,” Swinney said. “Really awesome to see him play the way he’s played. From the second quarter on from Monday night to what I’ve seen today, just with his legs, his arms, he’s been incredibly accurate. He’s made some big plays with his legs.”

Meanwhile, The Tigers’ defense looked a little less on par than what usually see from them.

At the end of the first half, Furman had 214 total yards on offense. The Paladins got many screens passes past Clemson’s defense and got around the perimeter.

After the game, Swinney was candid about the defense’s performance.

“We did not contain the ball well,” he said. “Their plan was to cut us the whole game and try to neutralize us a little bit.”

“There’s a lot we can learn from this team today,” Swinney added.

Sophomore linebacker Barrett Carter made an interception in the early minutes of the third quarter, which displayed the asset he continues to be for the Clemson defense.

Both Jalyn Phillips and Trenton Simpson still looked to be everywhere in the backfield. Simpson led the team with eight total tackles.

And the offense kept rolling early in the third quarter, when Will Shipley began to establish the Tigers’ running game.

Shipley led the team in rushing yards picking up 68 yards in the game and reaching the end zone twice.

In the passing game, it was the standout performance of Beaux Collins that made a huge difference in the Clemson offense on Saturday.

Collins, who picked up 57 receiving yards, was a prime target of Uiagalelei’s passes throughout the entire game. 

Collins led the team in receiving yards, but freshman Antonio Williams also had a strong performance in the slot position, finishing with 39 receiving yards during the game.

Clemson will host Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. EDT.

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