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NCAAF: D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson rally to nip Louisville

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D.J. Uiagalelei ran eight yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:12 remaining in the game as Clemson held off Louisville 30-24 Saturday night at Louisville’s Cardinal Stadium.

Clemson (6-3, 5-2 ACC) remained unbeaten in seven games all-time against the Cardinals (4-5, 2-4).

The Tigers had beaten the Cardinals by an average margin of 40.7 points in their last three meetings, but Saturday’s game was far from a blowout. Clemson never led until Uiagalelei’s late score.

The Tigers added a 40-yard field goal by B.T. Potter with 2:24 remaining, but then had to withstand a final gasp by Louisville, which drove to a first-and-goal at the Clemson 2-yard line in the final minute but was thwarted on four consecutive rushing attempts.

Clemson wound up stopping Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham on the final three plays. Cunningham had been the Cardinals’ catalyst, passing for 174 yards and rushing for 134 and two touchdowns.

But after Cunningham’s 51-yard touchdown run down the left sideline provided the Cardinals with a 24-17 lead with 11:29 left in the third quarter, Louisville’s offense bogged down. Cunningham suffered a sprained ankle on Louisville’s second possession of the third quarter and he didn’t return to the game until after Clemson scored on a 34-yard field goal with 10:17 remaining to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 24-20.

Cunningham completed 12-of-20 passes and recorded the sixth 100-yard rushing game of his career and his second of the season.

Uiagalelei completed 18-of-30 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns for Clemson, including six completions for 104 yards and a score to his former high school teammate, Beaux Collins.

The game was tied, 17-17, at halftime. Louisville’s Jalen Mitchell scored on a 26-yard run on the Cardinals’ first possession of the game, but Clemson struck back 59 seconds later with a 46-yard bomb from Uiagalalei to Collins.

Cunningham scored from 23 yards out and James Turner added a 44-yard field goal to push Louisville’s lead to 17-7 with 10:32 left in the half. Clemson responded with a 38-yard field goal by B.T. Potter and an eight-yard touchdown pass from Uiagalelei to tight end Davis Allen with 18 seconds left before halftime.

Louisville’s 223 rushing yards were the most allowed by the Clemson defense this season, but the Tigers’ defense did accumulate nine tackles for loss, including four sacks.

–Field Level Media

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