TigerIllustrated - Ngata to miss Pitt game
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Ngata to miss Pitt game

CLEMSON | Clemson receiver Joseph Ngata is out for Saturday's game with COVID, multiple sources have told Tigerillustrated.com.

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Ngata is Clemson's leader in receiving yards with 352 on 18 catches, and his absence comes at a bad time for an offense that's trying to develop a rhythm knowing it might have to put up more points than usual to stay in its game against a Pitt team that boasts a prolific offense.

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This comes a week after starting center Hunter Rayburn missed the Syracuse game with COVID. In that case, Rayburn's sickness was discovered the morning of the game and the staff had to quickly improvise by starting Mason Trotter as the offensive line as a whole struggled mightily in the 17-13 victory (Rayburn is out for this game also).

Losing wideout and former 5-star Joe Ngata is another big blow to a Clemson offense that has struggled all season.
Losing wideout and former 5-star Joe Ngata is another big blow to a Clemson offense that has struggled all season. (Tigerillustrated.com)

This time it appears there's more time to prepare for Ngata's absence, though any absence is a problem for an offense that hasn't reached 20 points in regulation in its five games against FBS competition.

The receiving corps has already been dealing with the absence of EJ Williams and Frank Ladson. Williams has been playing with a broken finger and had to undergo scope surgery for an injured knee. Ladson has been dealing with a groin injury.

Ngata produced a huge touchdown catch in the second quarter at Syracuse, leaping high to snare the ball amid contact while getting a foot down in the end zone. It was the play Dabo Swinney had been saying the offense needed to take off and start scoring more points, but from there it was more of the same as the offense totaled 314 yards.

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The receivers have drawn the most ire from Swinney recently as the drops and missed blocks have piled up.

On Wednesday, Swinney elected not to share much detail on injuries but did say this:

"We're down a bunch of guys, so our depth is being challenged."

If Williams and Ladson are again unable to go, Clemson's top three available players in terms of receiving yardage would be:

Justyn Ross (28 catches for 282 yards)

Davis Allen (14 for 94)

Kobe Pace (5 for 68)

Will Shipley has been out since the N.C. State game, but Tigerillustrated.com has received favorable returns about the chances of him playing Saturday.

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