Miami, Florida – In search of a win, Reuben Bain delivered a breakout performance as part of a collective effort to help the Hurricanes down Clemson 28-20. Recording eight tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble, Bain contributed in two key plays. He sacked Cade Klubnik early in the second quarter forcing the fumble recovered by his teammate Wesley Bissainthe. Then in overtime, Bain chased down Klubnik in another sack for a loss of 10 yards. When the night was done, the freshman had 10 QB pressures versus the Tigers, the most by any defender in college football for week 8. The Hurricanes were without starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and runningback Harry Parrish Jr. Backup signal caller Emory Williams was tapped for his first career start.
-First collegiate start ✅
-First collegiate TD pass ✅
True freshman 3⭐️ QB Emory Williams finds Colbie Young in the end zone to make it a one-score game 🏈pic.twitter.com/SX58YhcFGv
— 247Sports (@247Sports) October 22, 2023
Williams completed 24 of 33 passes for 151 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He struggled in the first half as he largely attempted short passes in an effort to limit the risks of a turnover. However, the freshman improved in the second half. Deep in the red zone, Williams pulled the trigger on a third and three hitting Colbie Young for the score pulling Miami to within a field goal with eight minutes left in regulation. On their next possession, Williams went deep to Young nearly pulling off a tremendous play. Young couldn’t hold on but redeemed himself with a clutch catch for 16 yards on three defenders afterward. The duo connected again for 25 yards in a steady march into the red zone culminating in a game-tying 38-yard field goal with under two minutes to go.
Andy Borregales and Clemson kicker Jonathan Weitz traded field-goals in overtime setting up Ajay Allen’s eventual game-winning three-yard TD rush. Klubnik failed to answer on fourth and one at the goal line getting brought down for an eight-yard loss by Corey Flagg Jr. to ice it. The win is coach Mario Cristobal’s first ACC victory at home. Furthermore, this is the first time Dabo Swinney has lost to the Canes. UM now sits at 5-2 (1-2, ACC) with Virginia next.
Wow! How about that Canes defense?!!! What a stand. What a win! pic.twitter.com/ZPin0gTLyF
— Will Manso (@WillManso) October 22, 2023
Defense was terrific
These two teams haven’t had a close game in over a decade. Not only did the defense stop the run, holding them to a paltry 31 rushing yards, they pulled off three big takeaways. Klubnik felt the pressure all night completing barely half his passes. Although he did accumulate 314 yards and two scores he was sacked five times, twice by the Reuben Bain Train. Add in the four pass breakups and six QB hurries, it becomes abundantly clear why Miami dominated time of possession (22:30-37:30). There were plenty of great moves from this unit.
Late in the first quarter Klubnik seemingly found an open Antonio Williams only to see Daryl Porter Jr. spoil the play ultimately forcing the Tigers to punt. Prior to halftime, Leonard Taylor made his own great tackle stopping Will Shipley when they were deep inside Miami territory. Francisco Mauigoa also made his presence known sacking Klubnik and also helping to keep Shipley contained. Clemson’s second drive was an eventful one. Adam Randall shook a tumbling Jaden Davis for 34 yards.
Huge play by James Williams right as Clemson is going to score. pic.twitter.com/XP0YdEqVhz
— Will Manso (@WillManso) October 22, 2023
Just as it seemed the Tigers were going to score, James Williams forced the fumble at the goal line. In another stop by the defense, Kamren Kinchens picked off Klubnik. He’d almost do it again with less than two minutes left in regulation. Clemson’s first possession of the second half nearly ended in disaster when Te’Cory Couch stripped the ball from Cade only for an attentive Shipley to scoop it up. Midway through the fourth quarter, K.J.Cloyd denied a Cade and Jake Briningstool connection forcing a punt. The unit held firm in OT ending with Flagg’s tackle.
Emory Williams will only get better
This was one heck of an assignment for the freshman quarterback. The first start of his college career versus a Power 5 opponent: Dabo Swinney and the Tigers. And he won! During the first two quarters, they kept it simple with little success. Williams had only managed 31 passing yards at halftime. During the first drive on third and 11, he threw the ball seemingly to no one, it was intended for Jacolby George. Luckily, he improved. Guided by the injured Van Dyke, he was slowly building up confidence with throws up the middle and even deep balls. Although he found success with Young, Williams spread the ball around.
— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) October 22, 2023
Xavier Restrepo caught all seven of his passes for 26 yards. Young, meanwhile, caught six of eight targets for 76 yards and a TD. Brashard Smith hauled in five for 36 yards. Man, he was doing everything. Not only was Smith out there making catches and kick returns, but he was even playing the role of runningback tallying four carries for 87 yards. He almost scored too. In a big reversal of fortunes in the wake of Williams forcing the fumble at the goal line, Smith broke loose for 80 yards only to FUMBLE on the goal line himself. Jacolby recovered for the Miami TD. For a comparison, Donald Chaney Jr. recorded 63 yards on 17 carries. Lastly of note, we have Allen chewing up 54 yards on 16 carries.
The ugly truth
So the officiating was once again highly suspect. Just before halftime, Cade Klubnik was sacked inside the endzone by Francisco Mauigoa. However, the ruling on the field was the QB was down at the one. The review upheld it. I don’t know what the guys were looking at. The replay clearly shows it was a safety. In the post-game presser coach Cristobal alluded to it stopping short of directly criticizing the call. He wanted to avoid the fine.
— Gabriel Garcia (@Gabewritesports) October 22, 2023
Speaking of, the playcalling at the end of regulation was abysmal. In another incidence of poor clock management, UM still had time to inch closer allowing for Borregales to bury Clemson with the game-clinching field goal yet ran out the clock instead choosing to fight it out in OT. By the way, Miami still had one timeout left. That was a way too conservative action. Regardless, winning washes away these mistakes. Onto the next one.