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Snap Count Review: Clemson vs. Notre Dame

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No more injuries please

DJ Uiagalelei throws against the Notre Dame defense.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

A common narrative leading into this game surrounded how much the absence of Trevor Lawrence would affect Clemson in South Bend. But, as many of us here noted beforehand, the injuries (both pre-game and during) to the defense ultimately proved too much to overcome.

Just about every position on the team has seen a starter need to be replaced, and backups are being called on more than ever to step up and fill those holes. It does seem as though Clemson’s run of good fortune with minimal injuries over the last few seasons is finally catching up to them - hopefully those who are dealing with injuries can heal up and return shortly.

That being said - more snaps means better depth (in theory). Let’s look at how things balanced out over this game.

Clemson Offensive Snaps

Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
DJ Uiagalelei* QB 79 212
Travis Etienne* RB 72 366
Chez Mellusi RB 6 51
Cornell Powell* WR 76 389
Amari Rodgers* WR 72 410
EJ Williams WR 43 206
Joseph Ngata* WR 24 122
Frank Ladson Jr. WR 6 253
Brannon Spector WR 6 121
Braden Galloway* TE 49 323
Davis Allen TE 40 234
Cade Stewart* OL 79 553
Will Putnam* OL 79 534
Jackson Carman* OL 79 527
Jordan McFadden* OL 65 534
Mason Trotter OL 46 104
Matt Bockhorst* OL 32 502
Walker Parks OL 14 132
Paul Tchio OL 1 70

DJ Uiagalelei once again performed wonderfully in the starting role as QB, all things considered. He made several freshman mistakes, and had Trevor been in the game Clemson very well may have won. But, rather than focus on what could have been, let’s give DJ some praise for what actually happened. In his first road start as a true freshman, playing his second meaningful game in college, against a Notre Dame defense that removed the run game from the Clemson offense, DJ threw for 439 yards against a Top-5 team in the country (the most ever allowed in Notre Dame history).

That deserves some praise.

Additionally, Cornell Powell had (for the second week in a row) his best game yet. Some of us questioned whether he would be able to perform this well against higher competition, and while ND’s corners are not the best Clemson might face this year, Powell certainly answered the challenge.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Lyn-J Dixon did not take any offensive snaps, with Mellusi taking those in his place.
  • Mason Trotter had a season-high 46 snaps in the absence of Matt Bockhorst.
  • Joseph Ngata started (!) but did not end up playing the whole game, collecting only 24 snaps.
  • Etienne was largely unable to get anything going on the ground. While ND definitely focused on stopping the run game, the O-line’s failure to generate lanes for Etienne was hard to watch.

Clemson Defensive Snaps

Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
Myles Murphy DE 60 282
KJ Henry* DE 57 274
Justin Mascoll* DE 34 261
Xavier Thomas DE 11 72
Bryan Bresee* DT 56 304
Nyles Pinckney* DT 26 185
Jordan Williams DT 24 170
Etinosa Reuben DT 4 30
Baylon Spector* LB 81 377
Jake Venables* LB 78 311
Trenton Simpson* LB 75 160
Keith Maguire LB 2 69
Derion Kendrick* CB 78 230
Sheridan Jones* CB 49 275
Andrew Booth CB 29 237
LeAnthony Williams CB 3 63
Fred Davis II CB 2 128
Nolan Turner* S 68 371
Joseph Charleston S 67 281
Tyler Venables S 37 145
Lannden Zanders S 30 301
Ray Thornton III S 7 91
Jalyn Phillips S 6 91
RJ Mickens S 6 21

Eight depth chart starters on defense affected by injuries. Nine players on defense had season-high snap counts. Next man up!

  • Trenton Simpson was called on heavily in this game with 75 snaps - he is still young but is learning fast with the opportunities given to him.
  • Derion Kendrick has become a dominant corner. It’s funny to think that not too long ago he was taking snaps at receiver. (Does anyone else get Mackensie Alexander vibes from him with the way he talks trash?)
  • Both Venables boys got significant playing time. Jake is simply not on the same level as Skalski physically, and I lost count of how many times Ian Book scrambled past our linebackers for the first down.
  • Joseph Charleston received his highest amount of snaps yet at 67. Clemson rotated 12 defensive backs in total.
  • Hate to watch ND target Ray Thornton III so quickly and see him get burned on the last drive, but I can’t blame them for taking advantage of that matchup.

I don’t have a whole lot of observations from this game, and I’d rather forget it happened if I’m being honest. Let me know what you saw in the comments, and let’s hope the potential rematch in Charlotte is more favorable!