Clemson football “put it all together” in the team’s final scrimmage of fall camp on Thursday night, flashing explosive plays in the run game, pass game on special teams.
Coach Dabo Swinney said he saw the progress and execution he was looking for from his team, particularly at quarterback and with the lack of mistakes on the offensive line.
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The No. 3-ranked Tigers open the season with No. 5-ranked Georgia at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Clemson has won 10 straight regular-season games over SEC teams dating back to a loss to Georgia in 2014, while also going 2-2 against Alabama in the postseason in that span.
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The Tigers are a 3 1/2-point favorite to beat the Bulldogs despite losing No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence at quarterback.
“I thought DJ (Uiagalelei) had his best day,” Swinney said on Thursday night. “He’s been steadily getting better as camp has gone on.
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“We had several big plays in special teams, the pass game, and a couple of really nice runs. It was a good day.”
Uiagalelei will be making his third career start against a Bulldogs’ defensive front that has led the nation in rushing defense the past two seasons and features potential first-round NFL Draft picks in edge rusher Adam Anderson and defensive tackle Jordan Davis.
Swinney said the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Uiagalelei, who was 78-of-117 passing for 914 yards with 5 TDs and 0 interceptions in the 10 games he played, appeared game ready in the scrimmage.
“Fundamentally, I thought he was at his best today, he made the right decisions,” Swinney said. “He made some critical plays at critical times and should have had a couple more that we dropped, that he put right on the money.
“But very clean; clean with his exchanges, and clean with his footwork, made all the calls right and made the right decisions.”
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Georgia’s defensive front is expected to bring pressure on the young quarterback.
Clemson has struggled to establish the run game (11th in the ACC last season) and has questions on its offensive line, yet to settle the center position.
Swinney believes his quarterback is ready.
“I thought he had a game-like mentality today,” Swinney said. “I could really see him pushing himself to make every rep a game rep today. He made some nice plays with his legs.
“I just thought all in all, it was his best day, and it was good to see that.”