Is Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei’s Starting Role In Jeopardy?

The Clemson Tigers fell on the road at the previously ranked No. 23 Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday, and Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei has been under fire all season for his performances.

Pitt landed the No. 17 spot after the win in Sunday’s AP Top 25 Poll for Week 9.

As Yahoo Sports reports, Uiagalelei’s attempt at a shovel pass during Clemson’s first drive of the third quarter turned into a mistake. Pitt linebacker SirVocea Dennis was there in the gap for an interception, taking the ball 50 yards for a pick-six that put the Panthers up 21-7.

“I was going out, reading the D-end, saw him drop while I was pitching it,” Uiagalelei said. “While I was releasing it, right after I released it, I see [Dennis] run through the gap right there and he just made a great play.”

Clemson turned to redshirt sophomore quarterback Taisun Phommachanh for the next two series, and with only five games left in the regular season, some wonder whether Uiagalelei has lost the starting job.

“I just felt like I needed to give Taisun a chance,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “I thought Taisun came in and did some good things and led us down to a field goal there. It was positive.”

Clemson at Pitt Box Score from Oct. 23.

Uiagalelei went back in the fourth quarter and finished the game, completing 12-of-25 passes with two interceptions for 128 yards and no touchdowns through the air. During his short time on the field, Phommachanh completed 3-of-7 passes for 23 yards with no interceptions and no TDs through the air.

Uiagalelei was able to run it in to score once, recording his third rushing touchdown of the season on a six-yard run, but Pitt went on to defeat Clemson 27-17.

Yahoo Sports reports that with two conference losses, the Tigers are unlikely to win a seventh consecutive ACC championship, especially with a 10th straight 10-win regular season completely out of reach. The best the Tigers can finish this season is 9-3, which would be the fewest wins for the program since 2014.

The Tigers are averaging 20 points a game — well off last season’s 43.5-point pace — and Yahoo Sports reports that without any offensive identity or rhythm, no change is off the table anymore.

“I think everything’s under evaluation at this point at 4-3,” Swinney said. “I think everybody’s got to show up and earn it every single day. We’ve just got to take it one day at a time. We’ll go to practice, see who has the best practice and we’ll figure out who’s going to run out there first at every position. Again, do everything we can to try to find a way to win a game.”

With the loss, the Tigers are now 4-3 overall and 3-2 in league play on the season, while the Panthers improved to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in ACC play. Clemson will be home after its last two games on the road to host Florida State in Death Valley on Oct. 30, with kickoff for 3:30 p.m.

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Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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