CLEMSON – Perhaps somewhat lost among the 86 offensive plays Clemson football ran last week in a 51-45 double-overtime victory was a 3-yard gain in the third quarter.
Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei had just thrown a touchdown to tight end Davis Allen and the Tigers needed a 2-point conversion to tie the score against Wake Forest. Uiagalelei dropped back to pass, and the pocket collapsed. A defensive player wrapped himself around Uiagalelei's left leg and raised it in an effort to flip him to the ground.
"I really thought the official as going to blow it dead," Clemson passing game coordinator Kyle Richardson said. "They were all on him. He wasn't moving. He was just kind of stuck there. ... It ended up being pretty cool."
Uiagalelei, on one leg, flicked a sidearm pass to wide receiver Beaux Collins, who made a catch that eventually allowed Clemson to send the game into overtime on B.T. Potter's 52-yard field goal with four minutes left.
Fifth-ranked Clemson (4-0, 2-0 ACC) plays Saturday (7:30 p.m., ABC) against No. 10 N.C. State (4-0, 0-0) at Memorial Stadium in another ACC showdown.
Uiagalelei said he had Richardson's last-second instructions in mind.
"Coach Richardson told me on the sideline, 'Just don't take a sack,' " Uiagalelei said. "So, I was just trying to stay up and not take a sack. ... When the first guy got a hold of me, I was trying to stay up as long as I could."
"He's a tough guy anyway, so that didn't surprise me," Richardson said. "He sits in there and is willing to take it on the chin, basically. The best part of that to me was his eyes were still downfield going through his progression. He's got stuff all around him and his eyes are still focused on 'Where am I going to deliver the ball because I've got to make a throw and make a play right here?' It kind of turned into a scramble drill without the scramble – Beaux being in the right spot, Beaux being locked in and focused. There was a lot of trash around Beaux."
Collins had finished his route to the right side of the end zone and worked back toward the middle, right in front of Uiagalelei.
"Beaux did a great job," Uiagalelei said, "working scramble drill and coming back to get open and making a great catch right there. ... I was just trying to be able to see anybody and just throw the ball up. Luckily, Beaux got open, I put a good ball on him and he made a great catch."
Todd Shanesy covers Clemson athletics for the USA TODAY Network.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Clemson football's critical 2-pointer at Wake Forest nearly got sacked