Dec 3, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) warms up before the ACC Championship game against the North Carolina Tarheels at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY NETWORK

Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei enters transfer portal

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has entered the transfer portal and will not play for the Tigers in the postseason.

Uiagalelei threw for 2,521 and 22 touchdowns in 2022, but spent most of his final game with the program on the sideline as freshman Cade Klubnik guided Clemson to a win over North Carolina in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game on Saturday.

Uiagalelei, a former five-star recruit who sat behind Trevor Lawrence before becoming the starter for the past two seasons, had been put on notice by head coach Dabo Swinney following the Tigers’ loss at Notre Dame.

“DJ, he’s a special person. He handles everything the right way,” Swinney said of the decision to change quarterbacks three possessions into Clemson’s 39-10 win over North Carolina. “He handles everything with class; he understood.”

Coming out of St. John Bosco High School in California, Uiagalelei was a five-star prospect and ranked No. 2 among quarterbacks in the 247Sports composite.

In 36 career games with the Tigers, Uiagalelei completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 5,681 yards with 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

No. 7 Clemson will face No. 6 Tennessee in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) scrambles past Clemson Tigers defensive tackle Tyler Davis (13) during the third quarter of the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Clemson drubs No. 23 UNC behind backup QB to win ACC

Cade Klubnik gave No. 9 Clemson’s offense a spark in a relief role as the Tigers won another Atlantic Coast Conference championship by defeating No. 23 North Carolina 39-10 on Saturday night at Charlotte, N.C.

Nate Wiggins returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown for the Tigers, who claimed their 20th ACC title, including seven in an eight-year span.

“It’s a blessing to be here,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “Seven out of eight years, I’m happy for our fans. We don’t take it for granted. We’re not entitled to be here. … But tonight was our night.”

Clemson (11-2), whose 31-30 home loss to rival South Carolina a week earlier doused its College Football Playoff hopes, will be headed to the Orange Bowl.

North Carolina (9-4), which lost its third game in a row, was aiming for its first ACC championship since 1980.

Klubnik, a freshman, completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for a team-high 30 yards on seven carries.

“We hoped DJ would start out well and he didn’t. Cade came in and did a great job,” Swinney said. “We would not be here without DJ. We wouldn’t have won the ACC championship without Cade.”

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, playing in his hometown, went 26-for-42 for 268 yards and two interceptions.

The Tar Heels were in position to close the gap midway through the third quarter. But Maye’s third-and-goal pass was picked off by Wiggins, who ran it back for a touchdown. Drew Swinney, son of coach Swinney and holder on kicks, ran in the two-point conversion.

That made it 32-10 instead of a one-possession margin. Will Shipley’s 2-yard touchdown run capped the scoring.

Tigers receiver Cole Turner, who had one catch entering the season, made three receptions for 101 yards. He became Clemson’s first player this season to reach 100 receiving yards.

Klubnik entered on Clemson’s third possession and the Tigers marched 71 yards on nine plays. Klubnik’s 1-yard toss to Davis Allen gave the Tigers their first points and tied the game at 7-7.

Two plays later, a North Carolina fumble set up Clemson at the 23-yard line. Phil Mafah’s 4-yard run put the Tigers in the lead.

Wiggins made one of his first big plays by blocking Noah Burnette’s 31-yard field goal attempt at the end of North Carolina’s 17-play drive. Clemson converted by moving 84 yards on five plays, capped by Klubnik’s 1-yard touchdown run.

North Carolina bounced back and scored on Burnette’s 26-yard field goal with 1:20 to play in the half. But Clemson didn’t back off, making it 24-10 at halftime on B.T. Potter’s 52-yarder on the last play of the half.

Clemson starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei completed 2 of 5 passes for 10 yards. The Tigers didn’t pick up a first down with him taking snaps.

“We have such a tight group,” Klubnik said. “Me and DJ have such an amazing relationship. I’m just happy for the role model he has been to me. So excited for these guys and so excited for these seniors. To go out with a ring in an ACC championship means a lot.”

North Carolina scored on its first possession by driving 78 yards and scoring on Maye’s 3-yard run.

North Carolina’s only previous appearance in the ACC championship game came in a 45-37 loss to Clemson in 2015.

–Field Level Media

Clemson wide receiver Beaux Collins (80) catches a pass for a touchdown during the first of two overtimes at Truist Field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina Saturday, September 24, 2022.

Ncaa Football Clemson At Wake Forest

Clemson WR Beaux Collins (shoulder) done for season

Clemson receiver Beaux Collins will miss the rest of the season due to a right shoulder injury and likely will undergo surgery next week, Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said on Tuesday.

Collins missed two games with a separated shoulder before returning to play last Saturday in a 31-30 loss to South Carolina. He reinjured the shoulder in the first half and later returned to the sideline with his arm in a sling.

Collins will miss Saturday’s Atlantic Coast Conference championship game between the No. 10 Tigers and No. 24 North Carolina and the team’s bowl game.

“I really appreciate Beaux trying to go,” Swinney said on Tuesday. “He really wanted to try to finish. We were hoping he would make it through the season and then we’d get it fixed, but it just wasn’t meant to be. He gave it all he could. We’ll probably do surgery on him next week.”

Collins had two catches for 65 yards, including a long of 59, against the Gamecocks.

Overall, Collins had 22 catches for 373 yards and a team-leading five touchdown receptions this season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei (5) warms up before the game with South Carolina at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.    Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson to stay with QB DJ Uiagalelei in ACC title game

Clemson may have ended the regular season on a sour note, but coach Dabo Swinney wouldn’t pin the blame on starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.

When the Tigers take the field next Saturday for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, Uiagalelei will remain their No. 1 quarterback, Swinney said on an ACC teleconference Sunday.

No. 8 Clemson lost to rival South Carolina 31-30 in the regular-season finale Saturday. Uiagalelei completed just 8 of 29 passes for 99 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

“DJ had some plays that he’d like to have back, but he was a long way away from being the reason we lost the game, that’s for sure,” Swinney said. “He doesn’t return kicks and play safety and catch the ball. He can only control his part, but all of those things affect your psyche and the rhythm of the game.”

It isn’t the first time this season Swinney tamped down ideas of a quarterback controversy, as Clemson has freshman Cade Klubnik waiting in the wings behind Uiagalelei. Klubnik subbed in for a benched Uiagalelei against then-No. 14 Syracuse in October and helped the Tigers rally from down 11 for a 27-21 win.

But Swinney never considered subbing Klubnik in during the South Carolina game.

“We had some critical drops and some missed plays, and those things add up,” Swinney said. “The next thing you know, the turnovers with empty possessions, you’re out of rhythm and then you have some drops and a few missed plays along the way, and it’s a recipe for getting beat.”

Uiagalelei has completed 62.2 percent of his passes this season for 2,511 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has a 59.9 career completion percentage for 5,671 yards, 36 TDs and 17 picks across three seasons.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) directs his offense against the Tennessee Volunteers in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

At No. 8 Clemson, South Carolina seeks another Top 10 win

Riding high after a big victory over then-ranked No. 5 Tennessee, South Carolina will aim for its second straight win over a Top 10 opponent when it visits No. 8 Clemson on Saturday.

Quarterback Spencer Rattler led the Gamecocks (7-4) to a 63-38 rout of the Volunteers. The transfer from Oklahoma had the best game of his South Carolina career as he passed for 438 yards and six touchdowns. His favorite target was Antwane Wells Jr., who caught 11 passes for 177 yards. Josh Vann and Jaheim Bell each caught two touchdown passes.

“Spencer was really, really accurate,” South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said. “Our guys played with confidence. The offensive line played great and allowed Spencer to get comfortable back there as well. We fed off the energy of the crowd.”

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney also was complimentary of Rattler ahead of this week’s matchup, saying, “He’s done a lot of great things and is a really talented player. He’s got all the tools.”

It was just the seventh time in program history that the Gamecocks beat a Top 5 team, their first such win since taking down No. 2 Georgia in double overtime in 2019.

The 63 points were the most produced by South Carolina in an Southeastern Conference game since 1995. In every way, it was a historic win.

But now South Carolina is set to face in-state rival Clemson (10-1). It’s the second week in a row that the Gamecocks will have the opportunity to play spoiler against a team with aspirations of making the College Football Playoff, but they haven’t beaten the Tigers since 2013. The Gamecocks have changed coaches twice since then.

“Excited for the 2022 chapter of that rivalry and looking forward to getting up there on Saturday,” Beamer said. “(Clemson is) extremely talented, as you know. They are extremely well-coached, as you know. Offensively, they are playing really good football here, especially last week — you could argue it was their best game.”

Clemson has won two straight since taking its only loss of the season at Notre Dame on Nov. 5. The Tigers have since beaten Louisville and Miami — both at home — by a combined 45 points.

Last week, the Tigers held the Hurricanes to 98 total yards. Jeremiah Trotter Jr. had nine tackles for Clemson. On offense, the Tigers were powered by DJ Uiagalelei, who passed for 227 yards and ran for 89 while totaling three touchdowns.

Clemson has won seven straight against South Carolina. This will be the 119th meeting between the Tigers and the Gamecocks, with Clemson holding a 72-42-4 lead in the series.

The Tigers already have booked their ticket to the ACC championship game in Charlotte on Dec. 3, but Swinney seemed to think that Tennessee overlooked South Carolina as it peeked toward the playoff. He doesn’t want his team to make that mistake.

“Next thing you know you forget you’ve got to go play,” Swinney said. “I think you’ve just got to give all the credit to South Carolina. I think they just flat-out kicked (Tennessee’s) butt.”

Swinney said defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, who missed last week’s game because of an illness, and wide receiver Beaux Collins, who has been out for two weeks due to a shoulder ailment, should be “ready to roll” against South Carolina. However, starting left guard Marcus Tate will miss the rest of the year with a knee injury.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Nov 12, 2022; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei (5) warms up passing before the game with Louisville at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.     Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Clemson wary of talented Miami

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney remarked Miami is one of those teams that just looks different getting off the bus. Now it’s up to the Tigers to be ready when the upset-minded Hurricanes show up Saturday with the No. 9-ranked Tigers in their sights.

“Make no mistake. They have some dudes. They can get off the bus with anybody,” Swinney said.

Clemson’s goal is to enhance the playoff chances that faded two weeks ago at Notre Dame. Miami (5-5, 3-3) wants to move into a more comfortable postseason position.

The Tigers are hoping to build on momentum from last week’s bounce-back win over Louisville when it entertains Miami in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup Saturday afternoon in Clemson, S.C.

The Tigers (9-1, 7-0 ACC) moved up a spot to No. 9 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings. The Tigers have two games to sway selection committee members. They are at South Carolina on Nov. 26 to finish the regular season.

They also will need some breaks to fall their way to get one of the top four spots in the playoff field for the seventh time after starting November with a 35-14 loss to the Fighting Irish.

With the SEC loaded and two Big Ten teams in the top four, there is much to be sorted out in Swinney’s estimation. The Tigers can only pounce on an opportunity to move back up if they avoid another late-season loss.

The Top four teams in the CFP rankings – No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU – are the only undefeated teams, though the final number will be no more than three with Ohio State and Michigan meeting in the regular-season finale on Nov. 26. The Tigers also have to navigate their way past a couple of 9-1 teams in No. 5 Tennessee and No. 7 USC and two 8-2 teams in No. 6 LSU and No. 8 Alabama.

“You don’t ever want to lose,” Swinney said, “but it’s human nature when you lose one late people look at it differently.”

The Tigers handled Louisville 31-16 last week for their 39th consecutive home victory, the longest such streak in ACC history.

D.J. Uiagalelei was an efficient 19-of-27 passing for 185 yards and a touchdown while Phil Mafah rushed for 106 yards on just 10 carries and Will Shipley 97 on 19 rushes as the Tigers ran for 248 yards.

“We managed the failure well,” Swinney said of their response to the loss to the Irish. “Now we’ve got to manage the success well.”

The Hurricanes are coming off their most impressive performance this season, beating Georgia Tech 35-14 last week. True freshman Jacurri Brown rushed for 87 yards and threw for three touchdowns – one on his first drive to end Miami’s nine-quarter touchdown drought – in his first collegiate start.

“He brought great energy to the team,” Canes coach Mario Cristobal said. “You know, when you’re a true freshman and you get the nod like that, and the first drive is a successful, that brings some pretty good juice and energy.”

Brown will start, but Cristobal said Tyler Van Dyke (shoulder) is “right at the cusp” of being available this week. Cristobal also is hopeful of getting leading rusher Henry Parrish Jr. (583 yards) back from the undisclosed injury that sidelined him last week.,

Clemson also has injury issues. Swinney said that junior defensive back Malcolm Greene (two starts) will need surgery for a groin injury and miss the rest of the season. Safety Tyler Venables (hamstring) remains out, but surgery won’t be required.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; A detailed view of the 9/11 ribbon logo on the back of the helmet of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) during the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Chargers DE Adrian Dingle dies at 45

Funeral arrangements are pending for Adrian Dingle, who played at Clemson and for the San Diego Chargers. He was 45.

Dingle, a defensive end, passed away Tuesday, and Clemson later announced his death. No cause was disclosed.

The Chargers selected Dingle in the fifth round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He missed the 1999 season with a torn left ACL, sustained six days after the draft during minicamp.

He played five NFL seasons, all with the Chargers. In 70 games (22 starts), he had 95 tackles (25 for loss), 14.5 sacks, one interception, five passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

At Clemson (1995-98), Dingle appeared in 46 games (34 starts) and had 180 tackles (45 for loss) and 23 sacks. His sack total is sixth most in Clemson history.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) is sacked by Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker JD Bertrand (27) in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson looks to peak late, starts with battle vs. Louisville

No. 10 Clemson is looking to make a late-season push to climb back into the playoff picture, and it will look to begin that rally Saturday afternoon when it hosts Louisville in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.

The Tigers (8-1, 6-0 ACC) saw their title hopes take a potentially-crushing hit last week following a 35-14 loss at nonconference rival Notre Dame. Although Clemson remains atop the ACC’s Atlantic Division, on Tuesday night it found out it dropped six spots in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.

The Tigers have made the CFP in six of the past eight seasons. They have a 38-game home winning streak and have never lost to Louisville in seven previous meetings.

“Every goal we have is intact,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “Every time we’ve hit all those goals, we’ve either won the national championship or had an amazing year. We won the opener, we can win the division, we can still win the state championship, we can still win this league, and we can still win the closer. There is only one thing off the table for us and that’s going undefeated.”

Swinney remains optimistic and later pointed out that Clemson won 14 consecutive games following its previous defeat.

But the Tigers lost to a three-loss Fighting Irish team and have no games left against ranked opponents to help bolster their playoff resume.

The alarming part for Swinney was the way Clemson was dominated by Notre Dame in its worst loss to an unranked opponent in 11 years.

Notre Dame blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown and returned an interception by DJ Uiagalelei 96 yards for a touchdown to build a 28-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

“Physically (we) got our butt kicked. Real simple,” Swinney said. “We did a lot of technical things wrong, too. Momentum, turnovers, blocked punt. It’s hard to turn that on the road. Good news is we know we’re better than that.”

Swinney said wide receiver Beaux Collins separated his shoulder last week and won’t play against Louisville.

Louisville (6-3, 3-3) is on a four-game winning streak that includes wins over a ranked Wake Forest team and a James Madison team that was ranked earlier this season.

The Cardinals are playing some of their best football of the season and showed it in the 34-10 victory over the Dukes. Quarterback Malik Cunningham was sharp, completing 14 of 20 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns.

Louisville’s defense also held James Madison to 193 total yards.

“I think once you get after the first part of the season, you kind of get a good identity of your team,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said. “You kind of know where your strengths and weaknesses are after the first four or five games. We were inconsistent early on playing, and I think over the last four games, we’ve really found some consistency.”

The Cardinals amassed 244 yards on the ground against the top-ranked rushing defense in the FBS in terms of yards per carry (2.47) led by Tiyon Evans (10 carries, 126 yards, TD) and Jawhar Jordan (17 carries, 117 yards).

Clemson is ranked 20th in the nation in rushing yards allowed per carry and allows 6.32 passing yards per attempt.

“You look at their team defensively, they’re still outstanding on the strength of their team up front on the defensive line, two deep,” Satterfield said. “They’re all really good players, high draft pick players.”

–Field Level Media

Clemson defensive end Xavier Thomas (3) reacts after sacking Georgia Tech freshman Jordan Yates (13) during the first quarter in Clemson, S.C., September 18, 2021.

Ncaa Football Georgia Tech At Clemson

Clemson considers QB change; DE Xavier Thomas (foot) done for season

Clemson starting defensive end Xavier Thomas will miss the rest of the season after re-injuring the foot that he originally hurt during a scrimmage in August camp.

Thomas played in just three games this season.

The news is another blow to a Clemson team that just incurred its first loss and is struggling mightily on offense behind starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney confirmed Tuesday that Thomas’ injury will require surgery.

Swinney said Thomas can decide whether to return to the Tigers as a sixth-year senior or prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft.

“So if he does decide to come back to Clemson, he’s ready to go for spring practice and all that,” Swinney said. “And if he does go ahead and go pro, then he’s fully ready for the combine and he’s got no limitations and all those things. But man, your heart goes out to him.”

Thomas took to social media late Monday, saying “the bone that was broken & healing and was close to being 100% recracked in practice.” He added he’ll have the surgery next week.

Whether Swinney will operate on his offensive depth chart in the near future appears to be on the table.

Following a demolition at the hands of unranked Notre Dame last Saturday, Clemson lost a grip on the College Football Playoff. The Tigers were No. 4 in the initial CFP rankings last week.

Next up for Clemson is Louisville this Saturday. And Swinney said Tuesday that the issues at quarterback are front and center for the Tigers in their final three games. Uiagalelei has been put on alert.

“If he doesn’t play better, we’ve got to give somebody else a chance,” Swinney said. “That’s just where we are.”

Uiagalelei went 27-of-39 passing for 191 yards and a touchdown with an interception against Notre Dame. He was briefly benched in favor of Cade Klubnik for a second consecutive game.

Thomas missed the first five games of the season, finally returning Oct. 8 against Boston College. Thomas recorded two sacks in six snaps. Thomas played in the next two games but was sidelined in last Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame.

Thomas was a third-team All-ACC selection in 2021, recording 27 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 12 games (10 starts). He also had 5.5 tackles for loss.

Thomas has 12.5 career sacks in 46 games (19 starts) for the Tigers over four seasons.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney calls plays during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 Clemson hits Notre Dame, finally at full strength

Dabo Swinney took his own measurement of Clemson this week ahead of the debut of the College Football Playoff rankings and determined the Tigers were as close to full strength as they’ve been all season.

Asked where he thought his team might be ranked before Tuesday night’s initial CFP rankings, Swinney had a quick response.

“Doesn’t matter,” he said.

The Tigers came in at No. 4, giving them a path to the CFP semifinals with the softest schedule among the top four. Saturday night’s trip to Notre Dame could be the biggest obstacle between now and January.

The Atlantic Coast Conference favorites are coming off a bye week after a 27-21 win on Oct. 22 at home against previously unbeaten Syracuse. They finish the year with three straight home games against Louisville, Miami and South Carolina, all of which they should be favored in by at least two touchdowns.

Clemson (8-0) would also be a solid favorite in a projected ACC title game against No. 17 North Carolina. Take care of business the next five weeks and it could earn a spot in the semifinals, but there will be many more prove-it moments available to the class of the SEC: Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.

“It has no relevance at this point,” said Swinney of the rankings. “The only thing I’m interested in is trying to win in South Bend. That’s all that matters.”

The Tigers will probably want to get off to a cleaner, better start than they did against Syracuse. The Orange established a 21-10 third quarter lead before Clemson rallied behind backup quarterback Cade Klubnik to score the game’s final 17 points.

But according to Swinney, starter DJ Uiagaleiei’s job isn’t in danger.

“As far as DJ, DJ’s our starter, DJ’s our leader,” Swinney said minutes after the Syracuse game. “Nothing’s changed there.”

Uiagaleiei struggled through his worst game of the year against Syracuse, going 13 of 21 for 138 yards with two interceptions. He’s thrown for 1,803 yards with 17 touchdown passes and four interceptions while rushing for a career-high 350 yards.

Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish (5-3) appear to have found themselves after an 0-2 start. They’ve won five of six, including last week’s 41-24 rout at No. 16 Syracuse that saw them combine 246 rushing yards with a defense that collected four sacks and a game-opening pick-six.

Notre Dame got 123 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Audric Estime, plus another 85 yards and a score from Logan Diggs. Brandon Joseph sparked the defense with a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown on the game’s first play.

“Really, really proud of our guys,” said first-year coach Marcus Freeman. “That’s a big win. It was really good to see this team battle.”

Freeman has characterized this squad as a good team that doesn’t always play like it. Two Top 25 wins last month with a home loss to a 3-5 Stanford team that at one point lost 11 straight games to FBS foes over two seasons validate that claim.

Estime and Diggs have combined for 989 yards on the ground, but the Irish need more from quarterback Drew Pyne. He was just 9 of 19 at Syracuse for 116 yards.

Clemson owns a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series, with the teams splitting two games in 2020, when Notre Dame was an ACC member and reached the championship game before losing to the Tigers in Charlotte.

–Field Level Media