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Snap Count Review - Clemson vs. UConn

It’s your turn now.

Syndication: The Greenville News JOSH MORGAN/Staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

For only the second time all season, Clemson was able to play a significant number of backups, allowing a season-high 75 players to log snaps. Seven different players had their season debuts, as well as eleven players seeing action in their second game of the season.

While plenty of backups got to see the field on Saturday, the starters (on offense) did not exactly build confidence heading into a massive showdown with Wake Forest on the 20th. The offensive line looked out of sorts all day long, albeit with some heavy rotation, while DJU and the receivers failed to consistently connect outside of a few splash plays here and there.

Injuries certainly played a role in disrupting the starting lineup, but the performance against what is legitimately one of the worst programs in the country was hardly inspiring. Here’s hoping these snaps for depth players pay off in the form of rest and healing for the starters.

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 74 649
Hunter Helms QB 19 26
Billy Wiles QB 11 11
Taisun Phommachanh QB 4 43
Darien Rencher RB 51 65
Phil Mafah* RB 48 147
Ty Lucas RB 5 5
Beaux Collins* WR 56 280
Dacari Collins WR 54 99
EJ Williams* WR 37 250
Will Swinney WR 27 47
Will Brown WR 24 52
Drew Swinney WR 22 36
Justyn Ross* WR 17 471
Max May WR 13 28
Troy Stellato WR 12 23
Hampton Earle WR 12 12
Ajou Ajou WR 8 218
Hamp Greene WR 7 7
Tye Herbstreit WR 5 8
Davis Allen* TE 52 379
Jake Briningstool TE 26 51
Luke Price TE 14 27
Sage Ennis TE 12 154
Jaelyn Lay TE 9 27
Marcus Tate* OL 92 541
Walker Parks* OL 77 662
Mason Trotter* OL 77 311
Jordan McFadden* OL 68 663
Hunter Rayburn* OL 67 299
Mitchell Mayes OL 53 98
Bryn Tucker OL 48 63
Trent Howard OL 24 53
Tristan Leigh OL 10 20
Ryan Linthicum OL 4 7

DJU (74 snaps) played far more snaps than I would have expected for an opponent of this caliber, especially given how limited he looked with his knee brace. Even less ideal was how often he missed his targets, throwing for 21/44 with a touchdown and an interception. The argument can be made that the constant injuries in the WR room have prevented DJ from creating much chemistry with his wideouts, but there are still just too many mistakes.

Taisun Phommachanh (4 snaps) looked good in his limited action before exiting due to a shoulder injury, leading to more reps for Hunter Helms (19 snaps) and Billy Wiles (11 snaps). Funnily enough, one of the best touchdowns in the game came from the fourth-string Wiles:

With Will Shipley and Kobe Pace both kept out as a precaution, the door was wide open for Darien Rencher (51 snaps) and (more importantly) Phil Mafah (48 snaps) to make an impact with more playing time. Instead, the former mustered a meager 37 yards with a goal-line fumble on 14 carries while the freshman Mafah struggled to 49 yards and a touchdown through 17 carries.

It’s hard to say whether the blame should be put on the offensive line for failing to create more push against UConn - a team that has only managed to (barely) beat Yale this season - or on the two running backs for not generating more of a rushing spark. Realistically, the answer lies somewhere in the middle, but it still fails to explain how Clemson almost didn’t clear 100 rushing yards against the Huskies.

This week’s starting OL collected most of the playing time (another worrying indicator of where that unit is currently), as Mitchell Mayes (53 snaps) and Bryn Tucker (48 snaps) were the only OL players to see significant action as backups. Tate (92 snaps) shifted along the line to fill as needed, which is commendable.

Thirteen different receivers got on the field, with varying degrees of success. We are now officially in the Collins Towers Era and I am stoked to see how their careers play out over the next couple of seasons. Beaux had a big touchdown reception to end the first half while Dacari had his “welcome to the club” game with 97 yards on just six receptions.

Justyn Ross (17 snaps) was playing well before he left with a foot injury early in the game, and with Joseph Ngata and Frank Ladson both already out as well, there were plenty of snaps to go around for the backups. Ajou Ajou notably only had 8 snaps and has apparently been passed on the depth chart by the aforementioned Collins freshmen.

Davis Allen (52 snaps) saw the most playing time out of the tight ends, but Jake Briningstool flashed with 56 yards (second on the team) and his big TD reception. Sage Ennis played sparingly in 12 snaps while Jaelyn Lay (9 snaps) appeared in his third game of the 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
Kevin Swint DE 24 66
Myles Murphy DE 22 412
KJ Henry* DE 16 232
Justin Mascoll DE 16 187
Regan Upshaw DE 16 37
Greg Williams DE 14 25
Xavier Thomas* DE 7 403
Cade Denhoff DE 1 1
Zaire Patterson DE 1 1
Klayton Randolph DE 1 1
Ruke Orhorhoro* DT 24 383
Tyler Davis* DT 19 197
Etinosa Reuben DT 16 137
Tre Williams DT 10 235
DeMonte Capehart DT 10 14
Payton Page DT 4 49
Jabriel Robinson DT 2 3
Darnell Jefferies DT 1 18
James Edwards DT 1 3
Nick Eddis DT 1 2
James Skalski* LB 41 555
Trenton Simpson* LB 30 417
Baylon Spector* LB 24 476
Jeremiah Trotter LB 12 25
Keith Maguire LB 11 46
Barrett Carter LB 10 128
Jake Venables LB 9 15
Kane Patterson LB 7 43
LaVonta Bentley LB 3 145
Sheridan Jones* CB 34 324
Nate Wiggins CB 31 109
Fred Davis CB 30 122
Mario Goodrich* CB 19 408
Malcolm Greene CB 16 149
Nolan Turner* S 39 509
Andrew Mukuba* S 39 423
RJ Mickens S 32 302
Tyler Venables S 24 219
Ray Thornton S 22 51
Carson Donnelly S 9 17

A game like this against UConn provided some much-needed rest for the battered starters on this dominant defense. We’re ten weeks into the season, and a lot has been asked of a group that is suffering a variety of injuries to both key players and reserve bodies.

UConn came into this game with a very, very bad offense and the Clemson defense did not let the opportunity pass itself by. 6 sacks and 9 TFL helped keep UConn’s total yardage to just 99 yards on the day! That was with some heavy rotation in the second half, as 10 DT’s, 10 DE’s, and 9 LB’s got at least one snap in the Valley.

The secondary saw less rotation but produced two interceptions, one from Mario Goodrich (19 snaps) and one from Sheridan Jones (34 snaps):

Not counting the opening kickoff return allowed by special teams, this marks the third game this year with no offensive touchdowns allowed by the defense.

Fasten your seatbelts, people. We’re entering the home stretch of the season and the remaining games on the schedule promise to be some of the most nerve-wracking football games you’ll watch as a Clemson fan in recent memory.