If you are a fan of ugly wins, then the Tigers and the Yellow Jackets had to have you smiling from ear to ear. However, if you are a fan of solid execution and clean football, this game probably kept you awake Saturday night.
Without further adieu, here are our grades for the Tigers.
Quarterback: D.J. Uiagalelei looked shaky at best in his fifth career start. He continued to find precision in the passing game, as he threw off his back foot, left his back foot stuck in the ground and did not follow through on numerous passes—which led to missed throws and inaccurate passes.
Against the Yellow Jackets, Uiagalelei completed 18 passes for 126 yards and also had a crucial fumble in the red zone that took certain points off the board.
"We took some steps forward today," Swinney said. "There might not be a lot of things tonight that make people go, 'wow' and see, but I see. A lot of things we can build on, teach from, and grow from. How we had to go win the game. Hopefully, we can grow out turning the ball over, penalties, and just finish some of these drives.
"We just have to play through it. I wish it was perfect every time we went out there and we did everything just right. That's kind of where we are right now, but we are getting better. If we can just keep learning, keep showing up, keep preparing, keep fighting, get a little better fundamentally and stop shooting ourselves in the foot, we'll be where we need to be. We're building a good foundation."
Swinney added, "Proud the adjustments we made at halftime and what we were going to have to do win the game."
Running Back: Instead of running backs, I should rename this position group "Will Shipley", as the true freshman asserted himself as the Tigers No.1 back. Shipley punished defenders with his power up the middle and single-handedly led the Tigers to their opening score, as he amassed 34 of the Tigers' 39 yards on their touchdown drive.
Venables Not Interested In 'Bend But Don't Break' Defense, Says Tigers Need to Improve
When the Tigers needed another late-game stop, Brent Venables defense came through, however, the defensive coordinator says his team still has a lot of work to do after Clemson's 17-14 win over Syracuse.
Tony Elliott: Clemson Offense Still 'Shooting Ourselves in the Foot'
Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott thought a breakout game was coming for his unit, but after it didn't materialize, it's back to the drawing board for the Tigers, he said.
Ups and Downs: Clemson Earns First ACC Road Victory at Syracuse
A look at what Clemson did right, like protecting the football, and what the Tigers did wrong, like offensive third-down issues, in a 17-14 win at Syracuse on Friday.
Of the Tigers 112 yards gained by running backs, Shipley had 88. While the Tigers have found their go-to back, they should be able to get more production from the rest of their backs.
Wide Receivers: Justyn Ross was the star of the game, as he amassed 61 yards on seven catches. The other eight receivers managed only 64 yards receiving. However, find it incredibly difficult to grade them any lower than I have because they rely on the quarterback to get them the ball.
Offensive Line: The offensive line continues to be a struggle for the offense. Numerous times they were manhandled by three down linemen for Tech. We have heard numerous times that the coaching staff is trying to put their best five on the field. However, it appears that, through the first three games, they are still struggling to figure out who those five are.
Personally, I would love to see Mitchell Mayes and Paul Tchio get more of an opportunity..
Defense (As a whole unit): Until the Tiger defense allows a touchdown their grade remains the same. In fact, if the offense would stop giving their opponent points the Tigers could probably feel a little better about themselves.
The defense allowed six points and had a game-saving goal-line stand that proved to be the difference in the game.
Want to join in on the discussion? 100% FREE! Interact with fellow Tiger fans and hear directly from publisher Zach Lentz, deputy editor Brad Senkiw and recruiting analyst Jason Priester on any subject. Click here to become a member of the ALL CLEMSON message board community today!