Will Shipley started Saturday’s game against South Carolina with a bang, rushing for 99 yards on nine attempts in the first half, including 76 yards on four carries in the first quarter alone.
However, Clemson’s star sophomore running back didn’t get as many opportunities to tote the rock after halftime. Although he finished the game with 132 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, averaging nearly 9 yards per carry (8.8), Shipley took only six handoffs over the final two quarters despite averaging 5.5 yards on those carries.
In the aftermath of the Tigers’ 31-30 loss to the Gamecocks at Death Valley, Dabo Swinney was admittedly left wishing he had gotten Shipley more involved in the second half.
During Swinney’s ACC Championship Game zoom press conference on Sunday, Clemson’s head coach was asked if he had a better idea of why the Tigers didn’t get the ball to Shipley more over the final two quarters, after looking at the film.
“Well, there’s some read things where it didn’t happen, and just the play call didn’t go to him,” Swinney explained. And then again, we had a missed possession there at the end that hurt us, some missed plays that killed some more sequence of plays and opportunities there. But definitely something I can say is 20/20 for sure, and wish we could’ve gone back and redone a couple of those.”
The 100-yard rushing game on Saturday was Shipley’s eighth of his career and fifth of the season. On a 47-yard first quarter carry, Shipley (career-high 1,092 rushing yards this season) broke the 1,000-yard mark to produce the 23rd 1,000-yard rushing season in Clemson history.
Shipley’s 1,092 rushing yards this season are now the 14th-most in a season in school history, while his 14th rushing touchdown of the season on an 11-yard run in the third quarter moved him into the top 10 in Clemson history in rushing touchdowns in a single season.
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