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Snap Count Review - Clemson vs. Wake Forest

A ten-win season is still on the menu...

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Clemson Josh Morgan-USA TODAY Sports

The nation’s best home winning streak on the line. A final matchup for the seniors in Death Valley. A chance to keep Clemson’s faint Atlantic Division hopes alive and notch a potential 11th consecutive ten-win season.

It all came to fruition and more as Clemson dominated #10 Wake Forest en route to a 48-27 victory in front of a home crowd eager to celebrate at the paw. Although the Tigers eased up in the fourth quarter and allowed Wake Forest to tack on two more touchdowns, the score was 38-13 heading into the final fifteen minutes.

The defense was smothering, the offense put together its best game of the season, and there was nearly a special teams highlight with a Will Brown punt return TD that was called back due to a fair catch. All in all, it was a strong victory for a battered Clemson team in desperate need of a big-time win.

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 75 724
Will Shipley* RB 39 291
Kobe Pace RB 33 229
Phil Mafah RB 2 149
Beaux Collins* WR 73 353
Dacari Collins* WR 70 169
Will Swinney* WR 40 87
Will Brown WR 13 65
Ajou Ajou WR 3 221
Drew Swinney WR 1 37
Davis Allen* TE 51 430
Sage Ennis TE 24 178
Jake Briningstool TE 19 70
Mason Trotter* OL 75 386
Jordan McFadden* OL 74 737
Will Putnam* OL 73 505
Walker Parks* OL 69 731
Hunter Rayburn* OL 69 368
Marcus Tate OL 5 546
Mitchell Mayes OL 5 103

DJ Uiagalelei took all 75 snaps at quarterback, throwing for 208 yards and a TD - only the fourth game all season he’s thrown for at least 200 yards. DJ was 11-19 but only attempted two passes after the first half thanks to Tony Elliott capitalizing on Wake’s biggest weakness in their run defense.

Although he had his usual misfires and questionable overthrows, DJ also had arguably one of the best plays of the season in this “get off me” bomb to Beaux Collins:

The ball was slightly underthrown as DJ rolled out or it would have likely been a touchdown. Still, it was an electric play that showed what DJ is capable of with his size and really sparked the Clemson offensive performance that would follow.

Nine of DJ’s eleven completions were to Beaux Collins (73 snaps) and Davis Allen (51 snaps). Will Shipley and Will Swinney also caught a pass each, but the receiver room was frighteningly thin. Will Swinney (40 snaps) and the freshmen duo of the Collins Towers formed the starting lineup. Showtime Beaux had multiple impressive catches, including this one-handed snag late in the third quarter that was a dagger for the Wake faithful:

But the offensive success was truly found in the efforts of Will Shipley (39 snaps) and Kobe Pace (33 snaps) who combined for a whopping 303 rushing yards and three touchdowns (not counting Shipley’s pop-pass touchdown). Credit must be given to the offensive line, which didn’t allow a sack and gave the running backs plenty of room to run, but these two simply imposed their will on a suspect defensive front all day long.

Speaking of the offensive line, the starting five took all but ten snaps in this position group, finally producing a consistent product on the field from start to finish. This was probably the most complete performance from these guys, and with any luck, they can replicate it this week against USCjr.

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 51 463
KJ Henry* DE 43 275
Xavier Thomas DE 31 434
Kevin Swint DE 23 89
Greg Williams DE 9 34
Ruke Orhorhoro* DT 48 431
Tyler Davis* DT 44 241
Etinosa Reuben DT 26 163
Payton Page DT 9 58
Tre Williams DT 8 243
DeMonte Capehart DT 2 16
Darnell Jefferies DT 1 19
James Skalski* LB 73 628
Baylon Spector* LB 63 539
Trenton Simpson* LB 46 463
Barrett Carter LB 9 137
Jake Venables LB 5 20
Keith Maguire LB 4 50
Jeremiah Trotter LB 1 26
Mario Goodrich* CB 57 465
Andrew Booth* CB 44 509
Sheridan Jones CB 28 352
Nate Wiggins CB 21 130
Malcolm Greene CB 18 167
Fred Davis CB 6 128
Andrew Mukuba* S 50 473
Nolan Turner* S 49 558
Jalyn Philips S 28 288
RJ Mickens S 22 324
Tyler Venables S 17 236
Ray Thornton S 13 64

Sacks and interceptions and turnovers - the defense did it all for one of the strongest showings of the season, at least until things slipped a bit toward the end with backups and prevent defense taking their toll on the box score.

Myles Murphy (51 snaps) and KJ Henry (43 snaps) set the tone early and steadily harassed Sam Hartman to disrupt Wake’s slow-mesh attack. Ruke Orhorhoro (48 snaps) and Tyler Davis (44 snaps) took most of the DT playing time, but it was Etinosa Reuben who racked up 2 sacks on just 26 snaps.

Tre Williams only logged 8 reps before an injury brought him out and ended his season prematurely, although that may be a beneficial break for him given how beat up he has been while playing this season.

This is one of the better linebacker trios I can recall in recent memory, as all three starters are playing lights out and are a large factor in this defense’s dominance. Trenton Simpson (46 snaps) and Baylon Spector (63 snaps) both had 9 tackles and were all over the place, while James Skalski (73 snaps) had the first of seven sacks in the Valley on Saturday.

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

I’m definitely going to miss seeing this guy blowing up plays and commanding the defense for Clemson.

Andrew Booth (44 snaps) was back in a big way after sitting out last week, collecting two PBU’s and an interception to help mitigate Hartman’s passing attack. Losing him and Mario Goodrich (57 snaps) after this season will be difficult to recover from, but having players like Sheridan Jones and Malcolm Greene ready to step up while also bringing in one of the best defensive back classes for Clemson ever (according to rankings) will help keep things humming for Venables next year.

At safety, Andrew Mukuba (50 snaps) thankfully has at least two more seasons with Clemson, which is quite an exciting thought to consider. The freshman collected 8 tackles with 2 PBU’s and has handled his responsibility in the secondary with confidence. Super senior Nolan Turner (49 snaps) has used his steady experience of six years to bookend the youthful talent of Mukuba.

Next week is the most important game on the schedule. If Clemson can finish the regular season with a win in Columbia and then handle business in a post-season bowl game (assuming Clemson doesn’t sneak into the ACC Championship game first), maintaining ten wins in a “down” year would be quite a feat. Here’s to beating the gamecocks in their own home!