Clemson Notre Dame – Book’s Fumble, Uiagalelei’s Throw, and Mayer’s Mistakes
The Clemson Notre Dame game was one of the most entertaining in the nation. In a high-scoring affair, the Tigers dominated Notre Dame, but the game was marred by several miscues. This article will look at Book’s fumble, Uiagalelei’s throw, and Mayer’s mistakes. We’ll also discuss how Clemson can avoid the same mistakes in future games.
Notre Dame’s offense is among the best in the country, ranking in the Top 20 nationally in total offense and rushing. Notre Dame is led by QB DeShone Kizer, who ranks 19th in passing efficiency. All-purpose running back C.J. Prosise is also ranked near the top in college football. Notre Dame also has a dynamic running game, led by WR Will Fuller, who has the fourth-most career touchdown catches in school history. Notre Dame’s defense features Jaylon Smith, Joe Schmidt, and Elijah Shumate.
The game continues to be a battle of offenses, and there are some impressive moments by both teams. Notre Dame’s defense stepped up in the second half, forcing Clemson to throw the ball to Etienne on third down. The Irish’s defense comes out in force to stop the Clemson rush, forcing the Tigers to settle for a field goal. The goalline field goal for Notre Dame is good, but the two teams are still in this game for the playoffs.
After the Clemson game, Notre Dame jumped into a high gear. Their offensive game has improved tremendously since then, thanks in large part to new quarterback Ian Book. Early in the season, Book was regarded as an adequate QB, but he took it to another level. But the sophomore’s improvement has made Notre Dame’s offense even more impressive. After all, the Irish have beaten three teams with winning records in the last month, and they can’t afford to let that slip.
Clemson’s run defense has improved greatly since the Notre Dame game. This has coincided with the return of star running back James Davis. Since then, the Tigers have held Pitt and Virginia Tech to under a yard per carry. The Tigers’ run defense has been a big factor, limiting both offenses to a single-digit scoring effort. The Clemson run defense is one of the best in the country.
The fumble that cost Notre Dame its game against Clemson on Saturday was a monumental one. The Irish were tied at 23 at halftime, and a touchdown by Ian Book would have put Notre Dame in the lead. Instead, Book fumbled inside the Clemson 10-yard line. After the fumble was recovered, Clemson had a touchback. Notre Dame fans were left fuming and confused.
The play was controversial in many ways, but the outcome was no doubt determined by Book’s leg. The fumble was caused by Book’s throw, which struck an undesired cheerleader in the head. The reaction on Twitter was swift and furious. Some fans asked why Book wasn’t intentionally grounding himself, while others referenced the “Brady Bunch” for some reason.
After this game, Notre Dame will look to play spotless and free of mistakes. While it is tempting to throw the ball conservatively and hope for the best, the quarterback is better off taking more risks and being more adventurous. With the Alabama defense stout, Book needs to find the right moment to throw. This is the one chance he has to do that this season. This will not be the last time Book makes a mistake.
A few weeks ago, Book’s fumble cost Notre Dame a game. Despite the early fumble, Book led the Irish to a game-tying touchdown in the final 30 seconds. Book had also engineered touchdown drives in both overtime sessions. However, his fourth-quarter fumble in a game against Clemson put the Irish in a bind. The ball was recovered by Clemson linebacker Baylon Spector, but Book had to go through an additional three plays to gain the yardage.
D.J. Uiagalelei has made a splash in his first year as a starter at Clemson Notre Dame. The former Florida quarterback completed 78 percent of his passes for 914 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions, giving him the fifth-highest freshman pass efficiency rating in the ACC since 2002. In addition to that, he became only the second FBS quarterback since 2000 to throw at least 115 passes. In his first full season as a starter, however, Uiagalelei struggled to complete 55.6 percent of his passes and threw more interceptions than touchdowns.
Though he did not play all four quarters, Lawrence did make an appearance on the sideline late in the second half against Notre Dame, when the Tigers led by several touchdowns. It was not clear why Lawrence had to be sidelined early in a game, but the coaching staff wanted other players to be ready for the start. Uiagalelei’s four39 passing yards surpassed Carson Palmer’s total of 425 yards from 2002.
With so many new faces on the offensive and defensive staffs, it’s difficult to gauge the future of the passing game at Clemson. But as long as Kyle Richardson remains in place, the future is bright for the Tigers. Just as Lawrence did, DJ Uiagalelei has the physical tools to dominate the opposing team. In fact, Richardson’s name was announced as the new pass game coordinator.
As a true freshman, D.J. Uiagalelei had high expectations for his college career. However, in his freshman season, he was only a backup to Trevor Lawrence. Despite being a backup quarterback, Uiagalelei was able to accumulate 914 passing yards in nine games. Swinney believes Uiagalelei’s mistakes were a process of maturation.
The Irish have lost four of their five starters on offense to the NFL Draft, so the offense will have to look for an extra option when Mayer drops back. Mayer should be able to make the best of this opportunity by improving his blocking technique and fundamentals. He struggled to seal interior gaps on outside zone rushing plays and also struggled to consistently cut his angle at the snap. If he can improve his blocking, he could end up being the Irish’s last straw.
In his first game back from injury, Mayer had the football in his hands. He kicked off Notre Dame’s 31-16 win over USC. In the next game, he scored a touchdown against Florida State. Then, in the season opener against Florida State, he turned a short pass from Jack Coan into a 25-yard gain. Still, his mistakes are a concern.
In his freshman season, Mayer was put in high-leverage situations, but he doesn’t dwell on them. Despite his mistakes, he maintains the same mindset he had last summer. Offensively, offensive coordinator Tommy Rees tasked Mayer with a larger leadership role. As a result, he set a freshman record for receiving touchdowns. In his sophomore season, Mayer is expected to step up to a bigger role.
While Mayer isn’t a perfect player, he is capable of producing for Notre Dame. The offense would much rather have him produce for them than replace a reliable player like Tyler Eifert. In 2012 and 2011, Notre Dame had two talented tight ends in DaVaris Daniels and Michael Floyd. In 2009, Kyle Rudolph was able to shine and make a lot of plays.
Whether you love football or hate it, Etienne’s performance at Clemson Notre Dame is a memorable one. The junior has already made his mark on college football with highlights from the big stage. Against South Carolina, Etienne ran for 150 yards on the final play of the regular season. And he made the most of his chance to shine by scoring a touchdown with 41 seconds left in the ACC championship game.
As a freshman, Etienne averaged 7.16 yards per carry and scored 13 touchdowns on 107 carries. Those numbers match those of Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor with 192 more carries. Despite his size, Etienne’s speed, and overall build make him a top candidate for a larger workload. While Clemson’s receiving group lacks experience, the presence of Etienne at the position makes the Tigers’ offense more consistent.
On the offensive side of the ball, Notre Dame’s offensive line was veteran and talented. Williams, who surpassed 100 yards twice this season, is also a key piece. Notre Dame needs the same kind of monster effort from Etienne in order to win the game. The running back needs to gain control of the ball and carry the load on his own. In addition to Etienne, Notre Dame’s passing game relied on its senior line to protect Lawrence and the quarterback. In the end, the Tigers rushed for just 34 yards, their lowest output since 2011.
With two ACC Player of the Year awards under his belt, Travis Etienne is a top player for Clemson. The two-time ACC MVP is often overlooked due to his teammate, Trevor Lawrence, who is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. But against Boston College, Etienne had his chance to shine. He finished with 222 yards on 18 attempts, scored two touchdowns and made history.