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Snap Count Review - Clemson vs. Louisville

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Still unbeaten against the Cardinals!

Syndication: The Greenville News Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

Another week, another thriller from the Clemson Tigers. This time the last-second victory came against the Louisville Cardinals after a legendary four-down goal-line stand to give Clemson its seventh consecutive victory in the series. The win keeps Clemson undefeated against the Cards and adds another loss to the frustrating season for the Kentucky ACC brethren.

All snap counts come from the official Clemson report found here; numbers do not necessarily denote official plays, but rather non-special-team snaps.

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 62 575
Taisun Phommachanh QB 9 39
Will Shipley RB 42 252
Phil Mafah RB 19 99
Kobe Pace* RB 8 196
Justyn Ross* WR 60 454
Beaux Collins* WR 45 224
Joseph Ngata* WR 41 395
Dacari Collins WR 16 45
EJ Williams WR 11 213
Ajou Ajou WR 10 210
Will Swinney WR 2 20
Will Brown WR 1 28
Davis Allen* TE 58 327
Sage Ennis TE 17 142
Jake Briningstool TE 7 25
Jordan McFadden* OL 70 595
Walker Parks* OL 70 585
Marcus Tate* OL 70 449
Mason Trotter* OL 70 234
Hunter Rayburn* OL 70 232

This was probably the offense’s best performance overall to this point of the season, especially given the hostile road environment. It was far from perfect, but putting up 30 points three weeks ago would have seemed all but impossible. There is still plenty of room for improvement, but it was exciting to see the offense finally string together some nice drives.

DJU (62 snaps) played a solid game despite coming out briefly to put on a knee brace; I thought the sophomore signal-caller had some of his best moments as a leader against the cardinals. Taisun Phommachanh (9 snaps) has seen a handful of snaps through this point of the season and broke off a nice run for 26 yards.

The running back room was considered relatively deep during pre-season but after several transfers and more than a few injuries, Clemson found itself at one point running with a sixth-year “Super Heart” senior and freshman Phil Mafah (19 snaps). That isn’t exactly ideal but it has yet to truly bite the Tigers - Mafah, Pace, and Shipley are all strong starting options.

The sad part about this electric return was how it ended in a turnover on downs on 4th and goal from the Louisville 1 yard line. Still, Shipley’s talent is undeniably a much-welcomed addition for this team both on special teams and offense.

Concerns for Ross’ overall desire or “want-to” have been raised at multiple points during this season, but he had a great effort to convert a crucial first down and turned in a respectable performance on Saturday evening. The rest of the receiving core is a bit of a depleted skeleton closet outside of Ngata (who suffered yet another injury), although Beaux Collins (45 snaps) and Dacari Collins (16 snaps) are both starting to step up more and more as those in front of them fail to produce.

Davis Allen (58 snaps) had a clutch touchdown reception just before the half, further separating himself as the clear starting TE this year. No other tight end has even half his total snap count.

The offensive line played the same starting five the entire game with Putnam out, resulting in an even snap count (70 snaps) for the entire group. It’s hard to not criticize this position group for missed assignments, but I like to think they’re finding things to improve on each week. Injuries have certainly prevented a steady starting rotation to develop, as there have been five different starting lineups already this season.

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
Xavier Thomas* DE 53 396
Myles Murphy* DE 47 390
KJ Henry DE 23 216
Justin Mascoll DE 15 171
Kevin Swint DE 3 42
Tyler Davis* DT 44 178
Ruke Orhorhoro DT 32 359
Tre Williams DT 4 225
Etinosa Reuben DT 1 121
James Skalski* LB 69 514
Baylon Spector* LB 63 452
Trenton Simpson* LB 62 387
Mario Goodrich* CB 50 389
Sheridan Jones CB 44 290
Andrew Booth CB 22 465
Fred Davis CB 21 92
Malcolm Greene CB 9 133
Nate Wiggins CB 3 78
RJ Mickens* S 71 270
Nolan Turner* S 68 470
Andrew Mukuba S 44 384
Jalyn Phillips* S 30 260

Ironically enough, the one game in which the Tigers managed to nearly double their season PPG was the one game the defense finally had a sub-par performance. That isn’t to say they played horribly, but it was a less complete effort than what we’ve become accustomed to watching this year.

The defensive line was uncharacteristically loose in the run defense, allowing over 200 yards on the ground to the Cardinals. Malik Cunningham was a slippery Lamar Jackson imitation all night and had he not exited temporarily with an aggravated ankle, he may have gotten his team the victory on his own.

The usual three starting linebackers held down the middle of the field and racked up tackles as Louisville rushers consistently reached the second level. Trenton Simpson (62 snaps) had his best game of the season with a team-high 10 total tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 TFL.

The secondary saw lots of action with six different players logging at least 30 snaps. Andrew Mukuba (44 snaps) had a strong outing after deciding to transform into a heat-seeking missile for various situations during the contest:

Booth (22 snaps) exited early for concussion protocol, allowing Jones (44 snaps) and Davis (21 snaps) to siphon from his usual heavy workload for playing time of their own.

People will complain about Nolan Turner (68 snaps) until he leaves the team or until the cows come home - whichever happens first - but he is nearly always in the right spot at the right time, with a few exceptions this year. He may not be as speedy as Mukuba, but his knowledge and presence on the field are comparable to the value of having a linebacker like Skalski commanding the defense.

Here’s hoping this was a one-off stinker of a game for the defense, and that they will be ready for the biggest challenge yet against Wake Forest in two weeks.