Postgame notes on Clemson-Notre Dame
|Sunday, November 8, 2020, 1:21 AM-|
With Clemson at No. 1 and Notre Dame at No. 4, the game was the highest-ranked matchup of two ACC teams in conference history with a combined ranking of five. The highest combined ranking for a game between two ACC teams previously was eight, set five times including in No. 1 Clemson's win against No. 7 Miami (Fla) earlier this year.
Clemson and Notre Dame played only the fourth November game between two undefeated ACC teams in conference history, joining the 1990 Georgia Tech/Virginia game, the 1997 Florida State/North Carolina game and the 2013 Miami/Florida State game.
Clemson played its first regular season game in school history in which both teams entered with an undefeated record and at least six wins.
The defeat concluded several historic streaks for Clemson. It ended a 50-game winning streak in Saturday games (longest in the FBS in the AP Poll era), a 36-game regular season winning streak (longest in ACC history and tied for fourth-longest in the FBS in the AP Poll era), a 28-game winning streak against conference opponents (tied for second-longest in ACC history) and a school-record 14-game road winning streak.
The game was Clemson’s 14th overtime game all-time and its first since 2016 vs. NC State. Clemson is now 7-7 all-time in overtime games.
The game was the fourth multiple-overtime game in Clemson history and its first multiple-overtime game under Dabo Swinney.
At four hours and eight minutes of elapsed time, the contest tied for the second-longest by duration in Clemson history, trailing only a three-overtime game against Miami (Fla.) in 2005 that lasted 4:10.
Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei completed 29-of-44 passes for a career-high 439 yards with two passing touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown among his 13 carries.
The game was Uiagalelei’s first career 400-yard passing game and the 11th by a Clemson quarterback all-time. He is the fifth Clemson quarterback to accomplish the feat, joining Deshaun Watson (five), Tajh Boyd (three), Charlie Whitehurst (one) and Trevor Lawrence (one).
Uiagalelei’s 439 passing yards were the third-most in a game in school history. His total broke the school freshman record of 435, set by Deshaun Watson against North Carolina in 2014.
Uiagalelei’s 439 passing yards were the most ever thrown against Notre Dame by an opposing quarterback, breaking the mark of 425 held by USC’s Carson Palmer in 2002.
Uiagalelei posted the first set of consecutive 300-yard passing games by a Clemson quarterback since the College Football Playoff to end the 2018 season, when true freshman Trevor Lawrence threw for 327 yards against Notre Dame and 347 yards against Alabama.
Uiagalelei connected with wide receiver Cornell Powell on a 53-yard touchdown pass for Clemson’s first score. It was the longest career pass completion for Uiagalelei and the longest career reception for Powell.
The 53-yard touchdown was the first touchdown of 50-plus yards surrendered by Notre Dame against any opponent since the 2018 Cotton Bowl, when Clemson scored two touchdowns exceeding that length against the Irish.
The touchdown reception was Powell’s single-season career-high third of 2020.
Powell finished the game with six receptions for a career-high 161 yards. It marked his second straight game posting a career high in receiving yards.
Powell has now recorded consecutive 100-yard receiving games for the first time in his career, becoming the first Clemson receiver to post back-to-back 100-yard games since Tee Higgins against South Carolina and Virginia last season.
Powell’s 161 receiving yards tied for the single-game season high by a Clemson player, matching Amari Rodgers’ 161 yards at Georgia Tech on Oct. 17.
Powell now has 418 receiving yards this season, including 266 in the last two weeks alone. He entered the 2020 season with 329 career receiving yards in his first four seasons (including a four-game redshirt year in 2018).
Wide receiver Amari Rodgers caught eight passes for 134 yards.
Rodgers recorded his second 100-yard receiving game of the season, the fourth of his career.
Clemson has now produced multiple 100-yard receivers in consecutive games for the second time in school history. Prior to the last two games, the only previous occurrence came when Deon Cain and Mike Williams each reached 100 yards vs. Syracuse and Williams and Artavis Scott reached 100 yards a week later against Pitt.
Rodgers has now caught at least six passes in six straight games. He is the first Clemson player to do so since Mike Williams in October and November of 2016.
Running back Travis Etienne combined for 85 yards from scrimmage on 18 carries and eight receptions. He scored on a three-yard rush in the fourth quarter.
Etienne has now scored a touchdown of any kind in 43 of his 51 career games, extending his FBS record for most career games scoring a touchdown.
Etienne rushed for a touchdown in a sixth consecutive game to record his fourth career streak of six games or more with a rushing touchdown. It ties a six-game streak of his own from 2018-19 and a six-game streak by Woodrow Dantzler in 2000 for the eighth-longest in school history.
Etienne became the first player in Clemson history to rush for double-digit touchdowns in four different seasons. James Davis was close from 2005-08, but only recorded nine rushing touchdowns as a freshman. Etienne joins Washington's Myles Gaskin, Purdue's Kory Sheets, Ball State's Jahwan Edwards, Navy's Keenan Reynolds and Texas' Cedric Benson as the only players with four seasons of at least 10 rushing touchdowns since 2000.
Etienne tied Florida Atlantic's Devin Singletary (66) for sixth-most career rushing touchdowns according to official NCAA FBS records.
Tight end Davis Allen scored his fourth touchdown reception of the season on a 10-yard pass from Uiagalelei in the third quarter. The score tied the game at 23 after Clemson had trailed since the game’s first official play from scrimmage.
Allen became the sixth Clemson tight end under Dabo Swinney to catch four or more touchdowns in a season, joining Michael Palmer (four in 2009), Dwayne Allen (eight in 2011), Brandon Ford (eight in 2012), Stanton Seckinger (four in 2013) and Jordan Leggett (eight in 2015 and seven in 2016).
With 40 points on Saturday, Clemson has now scored at least 34 points in each of its first eight games, joining 2013 Florida State as the only ACC teams ever to score 34 or more points in each of the first eight games of a season.
Clemson has now scored 363 points this season, the program’s most points through the first eight games of a season in school history, surpassing its 353 in 2018.
Clemson has now opened a season with 400 yards of offense in each of the first eight games of a season for the third time since 2000 (2000 and 2018).
Clemson has now thrown for 300 yards in four straight games for the first time since a stretch against NC State, Wake Forest, South Carolina and Virginia last season.
Clemson extended its school-record streak of consecutive games with at least 25 pass completions to six.
Clemson recorded multiple rushing touchdowns in its 24th consecutive game. The last time Clemson was held to a single rushing touchdown was in the 2018 Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame.
Clemson posted two sacks and has now recorded multiple sacks in 30 of its last 31 games, including each of its last 14. The 14-game streak ties a streak from 2000-01 as the Tigers' fifth-longest streak since 1980.
Linebacker Jake Venables pushed his season sack total to a single-season career-high 2.5 on a first-quarter sack.
Defensive end K.J. Henry also reached a single-season career-high 2.5 sacks on a second-quarter sack.
Linebacker Baylon Spector recorded his first fumble recovery of the year in the third quarter on a red zone stop with the game tied at 23. It was his first fumble recovery of the season and the third of his career. The fumble was forced by Venables, the first of his career.
In the second quarter, Notre Dame scored on a 45-yard field goal following a fumble by Rodgers. Clemson entered the game having played its last 17 complete games without having surrendered a point off of a turnover defensively. Clemson's only points allowed off a turnover in 17 previous games had come on a pick-six surrendered by the offense vs. Syracuse and a fumble return allowed by the offense vs. Boston College.
Placekicker B.T. Potter recorded a career-high four field goals on four attempts. Entering the game, Potter’s single-game career high for field goals was three, set against Wake Forest earlier this season. Potter connected on field goals of 25, 45, 46 and 30 yards against Notre Dame.
Potter became the first Clemson kicker to record four field goals in a game since Chandler Catanzaro went 4-for-4 on field goals with makes of 31, 29, 25 and 24 yards at Maryland in 2013.
Clemson dropped to 27-5 in one-possession games since 2011. Clemson’s .843 winning percentage in one-score games in that span still ranks No. 1 in the country. Clemson had won each of its previous six one-score games prior to Saturday.
Head Coach Dabo Swinney coached his 100th regular season ACC game. He is now 83-17 (.830) in ACC regular season play, still the highest winning percentage in ACC regular season games in conference history.
Clemson played its 22nd game all-time while ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, tying Army for the 14th-most since the poll's inception in 1936. It was Dabo Swinney's 21st game coached at No. 1, moving him one game shy of tying Red Blaik, Larry Coker, Lou Holtz and Urban Meyer for 13th-most all-time (22 each).
Clemson faced its second AP Top 10 opponent this season, joining the team's 42-17 win against No. 7 Miami on Oct. 10. The 2020 season represents Clemson's first time facing multiple Top 10 opponents in a single regular season since 2013, when Clemson faced No. 5 Georgia, No. 5 Florida State and No. 10 South Carolina. Prior to facing Miami this year, Clemson's eight previous matchups against AP Top 10 teams came in either an ACC Championship Game, bowl game or College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Saturday’s matchup of two Top 10 ACC teams came 39 years to the date following the conference's first game between Top 10 teams. In that game, No. 2 Clemson defeated No. 8 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 10-8.
The game was Clemson’s seventh on NBC all-time. It was the second time No. 1 Clemson faced the No. 4 team in the country on the network, joining Clemson’s 22-15 win against Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl to secure the 1981 national championship. The game also transitioned to USA Network for a portion of the game as a function of NBC News coverage, marking Clemson’s first appearance on that network since 1983 vs. Maryland.