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Iowa State will play in its program-record fifth consecutive bowl game at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday against No. 19 Clemson in Orlando, Fla.
The Cheez-It Bowl will cap the careers of several Cyclone standouts, including quarterback Brock Purdy, tight ends Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen, and linebacker Mike Rose.
Here are five Clemson players to get to know as the countdown to kickoff continues.
- D.J. Uiagalelei, QB — It’s been an up and down season for the sophomore from Inland Empire, Calif., as the Tigers adjust to life without No. 1 NFL Draft pick Trevor Lawrence.
Uiagalelei has thrown nine touchdown passes and nine interceptions. The 6-foot-4 dual-threat quarterback also is Clemson’s third leading rusher with 98 carries for 304 yards.
Uiagalelei also is adjusting to playing for a new offensive coordinator in Brandon Streeter, but according to an article on SI.com, he’s already built a deep bond with him.
Streeter was one of Uiagalelei’s lead recruiters and also has served as his quarterbacks coach.
"I'm with him every day, I'm with him in meetings every day,” Uiagalelei told SI.com. “I know his thought process and he knows my thought process of what the different plays you want to call. I think from a comfortability level, that's the biggest thing for me. I have a great relationship with him.”
- James Skalski, LB — Skalski’s six-year Clemson career has tracked alongside the program’s unprecedented string of success.
The 6-foot, 240-pounder from Sharpsburg, Ga., is the only Tiger ever to play in five ACC title games. He’s also been called “the heart and soul” of the defense by former teammate and Tremayne Anchrum.
Skalski is one of four Clemson defenders to attain first team All-ACC honors this season. He leads the team in tackles with 87 and ranks second in quarterback pressure with 14. He’s played 682 snaps this season — nearly 100 more than his so-called “Bash Brother” Baylon Specter, who ranks second on the team in that category but recently underwent season-ending hand surgery.
Skalski is perhaps best known for being ejected from the Tigers’ 42-25 national championship loss to LSU in 2020 because of a controversial targeting call.
- Andrew Booth Jr., CB — Booth has been projected to be as high as the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft despite battling injury this season.
The 6-foot, 200-pound junior has given no indication that he will opt out of the Cheez-It Bowl, nor his senior season, though many expect him to make the transition to the professional ranks because of his burgeoning draft stock.
If Booth does compete as expected on Wednesday, he’ll likely try to lock down ISU leading receiver Xavier Hutchinson. It’s a role Booth has excelled in, especially lately as he’s neared full health. All three of Booth’s interceptions have come in the Tigers’ last two wins — as have three of his five passes defended.
- Will Shipley, RB — Shipley is the leading rusher in a crowded backfield that also features explosive Kobe Pace (6.4 yards per carry, six touchdowns). Shipley has turned 131 carries into 678 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The freshman from Weddington, N.C., also has thrived down the stretch this season, stitching all three of his 100-yard rushing games into the Tigers’ regular season-closing four-game winning streak. He’s also scored half of his touchdowns in that string of wins over Florida State, Louisville, No. 20 Wake Forest and South Carolina.
Shipley, a former five-star recruit, also has 11 catches for 63 yards this season.
- Beaux Collins, WR — Collins has been coming on lately — and with leading receiver Justyn Ross out after undergoing surgery in November, his role should greatly expand in the Cheez-It Bowl.
The freshman from Los Angeles has notched all three of his touchdown catches in the past four games and both of his 100-yard games in that short span.
Collins stands 6-3 and can stretch the field. He’s caught two passes this season of 45-plus yards and ranks second in the team in catches (28). His most spectacular catch — a one-hander for a 58-yard touchdown — fueled a career-best 134-yard performance in the Tigers’ win over Wake Forest.