Entering halftime with a 38-3 lead and set to receive the second half kickoff, it was clear that the game was all but locked up. Trevor Lawrence played only three series on offense (all of which ended in scoring drives), while other starters like Tee Higgins, and Travis Etienne were gradually phased out of the game by the second quarter. The second half was largely an opportunity for the Tigers’ backups to gain valuable live reps against an opponent outside of practice. It’s also an opportunity for the staff to get one last look at guys who might be on the bubble, as Game 4 is the last chance to decide which guys will be heading for redshirts or not.
Since the second half was largely made up of reserves and such a large lead, this week’s second half review will be rather brief compared to the others, though not without some thoughts about the game.
Start of 3rd: Clemson 38 Charlotte 3
The second half started with three-and-outs from both Clemson and Charlotte. Clemson would start their second drive from the Charlotte 45 after a 36-yard punt by the 49ers.
Clemson Ball (9:51 - 3rd)
Quarterback Chase Brice started the possession with a quick 19-yard strike to tight end Luke Price. After a sack by Alex Highsmith that forced the offense backwards 11 yards, Brice took advantage of the coverage to hit freshman Joe Ngata for a 37-yard touchdown. The catch is the first Ngata’s career, and hopefully the first of many for the California native.
Clemson 45 Charlotte 3
Charlotte Ball (6:12 - 3rd)
Despite the Clemson defense forcing another three-and-out, the Tigers managed to help put the 49ers in scoring position, as receiver Will Swinney muffed a punt while attempting to field it. Charlotte would recover the ball at the Clemson 12.
Charlotte Ball (4:59- 3rd)
The 49ers would punch it in three plays later, courtesy of QB Chris Reynolds. Their extra point attempt was successful.
Clemson 45 Charlotte 10
Clemson Ball (4:25 - 3rd)
This is the end of the night for Brice, as freshman quarterback Taisun Phommachannh (pronounced Foo-Ma-Khan) took his first snaps since the opener against Georgia Tech.
After two runs of eight and 14 yards from Dukes, the Tigers are forced into third down, where Phommachanh shows his mobility with a 12-yard run to pick up the first. Props to the line on solid blocking here, especially the interior:
Unfortunately, the drive is cut short, as Phommachanh is intercepted by Marquill Osborne.
Start of 4th: Clemson 45 Charlotte 10
Clemson Ball (13:15 - 4th)
Following another three-and-out by Charlotte, the Tigers take over at their own 20. After a three-yard gain by Chez Mellusi, Phommachanh hits Will Swinney on a 20-yard pass, courtesy of a well-designed bubble screen,
The Tigers, however, would be forced to punt here as well.
Clemson Ball (6:12 - 4th)
Following a pass interference penalty committed upon Drew Swinney’s 11-yard catch, Dukes caps off the night with a 24-yard run for a touchdown, capping off an already dominant night in which the reserves shined for most of the game. Looks like he couldn’t be outdone by his fellow freshman running back, and showed Death Valley that he’s got wheels of his own.
Good on Dukes for taking his cut and making the most of it:
Overall, the second half was a great time for many of these players to get valuable reps at the four-game benchmark before either redshirting or going back to their rotational roles.
Overall, there’s not really a lot to be said regarding redshirts, as many (Ngata and Frank Ladson) are clearly getting plenty of action, while others (Mellusi, Dukes), might some of the few on the bubble for depth purposes. Defensively, everything looks set, and what few concerns linger aren’t regarding redshirts.
Best part of the game: everyone got out healthy and there’s only one more game before a much-anticipated bye week. Now, on to Week 5 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.