Clemson defeated Notre Dame 31-23 on Saturday afternoon in Death Valley.

The Tigers’ defense was completely dominant in the second half, limiting Notre Dame just 14 points — and 7 of those came off of a short field after a Cade Klubnik interception.

Clemson is now 5-4 this season and is one win away from bowl eligibility.

Here are 3 takeaways from Clemson’s victory:

Dodging a bullet

Clemson was just 2 yards away from being able to go into it the victory formation on Saturday afternoon vs. Notre Dame.

Then, as it often has this season for the Tigers, disaster struck. Phil Mafah fumbled the ball just as he was about to pick up a game-ending first down. Notre Dame recovered and had plenty of time to operate a game-tying touchdown drive.

But, like it has over and over this season, Clemson’s defense stepped up. The Tigers got a stop on 4th and 10 to effectively end the game before Notre Dame even made it into Clemson territory.

Mafah’s big day

Aside from the fumble, it was a massive day for Mafah. He was filling in for the injured Will Shipley and was very effective on the afternoon. He finished the game with 36 carries for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Clemson really struggled to throw the ball on Notre Dame’s secondary, so the production from Mafah ended up playing a pivotal role in this win.


With this win, Dabo Swinney has become Clemson’s winningest coach in program history. This was his third attempt at passing the legendary Frank Howard, and he finally got it done on Saturday vs. the Fighting Irish.

Clemson is 5-4 on the season and is just one win away from bowl eligibility. This also snaps a two-game losing streak in ACC play.