clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Snap Count Review: Clemson vs Syracuse

Orange on orange violence

Syndication: USA TODAY Ken Ruinard / USA TODAY NETWORK

It wasn’t very pretty at times, but the Tigers managed to elude the Syracuse voodoo again and escape with a win on Saturday. After DJ was benched for his unimpressive play, Cade Klubnik took over and, while he was far from spectacular, provided just enough of a spark to lead Clemson to a 14-point comeback victory.

Clemson has made it through the first two-thirds of the regular season technically unscathed, though certainly not without some scrapes and bruises. The bye week arrives at a valuable time, as DJ will need to refocus to hopefully return to his high level of play prior to this game. While the injuries are not currently as numerous as they were earlier this season, the week off should of course allow for some important rest and recovery too.

It was a wild one in Death Valley, with some unusual snap counts for notable positions. All snap counts come from the official Clemson report found here; numbers do not necessarily denote official plays, but rather non-special-team snaps.

Offensive Snaps

Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
#5 DJ Uiagalelei* QB 56 528
#2 Cade Klubnik QB 30 62
#1 Will Shipley* RB 60 328
#26 Phil Mafah* RB 30 178
#80 Beaux Collins* WR 72 402
#0 Antonio Williams* WR 63 343
#10 Joseph Ngata* WR 52 355
#8 Adam Randall WR 32 136
#13 Brannon Spector WR 13 160
#6 EJ Williams WR 12 151
#16 Will Taylor WR 2 24
#84 Davis Allen* TE 61 411
#9 Jake Briningstool TE 31 198
#40 Luke Price TE 7 47
#56 Will Putnam* OL 86 559
#64 Walker Parks* OL 86 553
#71 Jordan McFadden* OL 86 552
#74 Marcus Tate* OL 83 555
#78 Blake Miller* OL 83 552
#77 Mitchell Mayes OL 6 56

The most notable change was, of course, at quarterback, where starter DJ Uiagalelei was benched for the first time in his career after a lackluster two-and-a-half quarters of play over 56 snaps. Freshman Cade Klubnik logged a career-high 30 snaps to nearly double his recorded snaps for the year.

Cade didn’t exactly light up the Syracuse secondary, only completing 2/4 passes for 19 yards. However, the Cuse defense seemed to respect his running ability on the RPO a bit more than DJ, and Shipley and Mafah helped power the Clemson offense to 17 4th-quarter points.

Speaking of the backs, they had arguably their most complete day on the ground yet, combining for 266 rushing yards and 3 TDs between the two of them. Shipley had a career-high 172 yards rushing, adding 17 more through the air. Mafah saw the most snaps of his season with 30, continuing to benefit from the absence of Pace due to injury.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Clemson
Shipley tends to make Clemson nation excited.
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Williams leads the receivers in both receptions and yards, matching his season-high snap count from the Wake Forest game at 63. None of the receivers outside of the starting trio saw more than 13 snaps, except for Adam Randall who had 32. The WR pecking order is shaping up about how we expected, although we’ll have to see how the last four regular season games play out.

For the second week in a row, Mitchell Mayes was the only offensive lineman to offer relief snaps for the starting five.

Defensive Snaps

Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
#98 Myles Murphy* DE 45 341
#5 KJ Henry* DE 44 354
#3 Xavier Thomas DE 14 52
#7 Justin Mascoll DE 11 190
#13 Tyler Davis* DT 38 257
#11 Bryan Bresee* DT 33 178
#33 Ruke Orhorhoro DT 25 290
#55 Payton Page DT 6 135
#8 Tre Williams DT 6 94
#22 Trenton Simpson* LB 52 422
#54 Jeremiah Trotter Jr.* LB 50 338
#30 Keith Maguire LB 5 210
#42 LaVonta Bentley LB 5 141
#17 Wade Woodaz LB 1 41
#20 Nate Wiggins* CB 59 415
#6 Sheridan Jones* CB 59 224
#21 Malcolm Greene* CB 48 95
#25 Jalyn Phillips* S 46 354
#1 Andrew Mukuba* S 46 266
#9 RJ Mickens S 18 291
#24 Tyler Venables S 18 199

Xavier Thomas had a reduced snap count in comparison to last week as the coaches continue to rotate him in with his foot injury in mind. Kevin Swint did not see the field for the first time all year (he was used on special teams), while Justin Mascoll only had a season-low 11 snaps. KJ Henry leads all Power-5 edge rushers with 25 quarterback hurries, and has probably been Clemson’s best DE this year.

Bresee and Davis both started the game at DT for the first time since the Georgia Tech opener; Ruke Orhorhoro saw his lowest snap count of the year so far with just 25 reps.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Clemson
Bresee only had the one sack, but it came during a crucial fourth-quarter surge for Clemson.
Anderson Independent Mail-USA TODAY NETWORK

Barrett Carter was held out due to a concussion issue suffered during practice earlier in the week, but interestingly rather than run a typical 3-linebacker set the coaches decided to lean on the returning Malcolm Greene to cover #0’s absence. Aside from Trotter and Simpson, no other linebacker saw more than 5 snaps.

Wiggins (59), Jones (59), and Greene (48) handled all the corner reps, while Mukuba and Phillips saw 46 snaps each. RJ Mickens, the man responsible for the game-sealing interception, only logged 18 snaps, as did Tyler Venables.

Clemson has now completed what I dubbed “The Litmus Test” portion of their schedule, defeating three of the toughest opponents they will face this regular season. I was justifiably worried about Sean Tucker heading into the Syracuse game, though he was limited to an efficient 5 carries for 54 yards (10.8 YPC!) thanks to the Tiger defense zeroing in on him with most of Cuse’s RPOs.

Syracuse is a good team and is definitely capable of winning out the rest of their games. Clemson now gets a much-needed week off before traveling to face the struggling Fighting Irish in South Bend.