MIAMI GARDNES, Fla. — Cade Klubnik suffered through some growing pains in No. 7 Clemson’s 31-14 loss to No. 6 Tennessee Friday in the Orange Bowl.
Though he threw for a career high 320 yards and completed 30-of-54 passes, the freshman quarterback also threw two interceptions and made a mistake that cost the Tigers possible points and momentum right before halftime.
“Obviously, before the half, trying to scramble in that situation was not a smart decision at all,” Clemson offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter said. “You know he is going to grow from that stuff. That is who he is. He is going to find ways to get better and he will learn from some of those mistakes he had tonight.”
Trailing 14-3, Clemson (11-3) got the football with 1:39 remaining in the half and with no timeouts. With the time ticking, Klubnik drove the Tigers to the Volunteers’ 18-yard line.
After clocking the ball, he was called for a delay of game. On second-and-15 from the 18, the freshman scrambled to the 13. He quickly lined the team up and got the next play off in plenty of time, but then scrambled up the middle of the field for a second time for two yards where he was tackled, allowing the time to run out.
“He just wasn’t thinking about that situation and understanding we did not have a timeout left,” Streeter said. “We are in field goal range already. Just being able to process that, and again, with a lot of young quarterbacks, things like that happen and I hate that it happened tonight, but he will learn from it.
“You just can’t scramble in those situations. We had little time on the clock, and we had no timeouts. Obviously, that is a situation where you have to throw it to the end zone or throw it away.”
Though he was sacked four times, Klubnik finished the night with 51 rushing yards and scored the Tigers only touchdown on a four-yard run in the fourth quarter.
“That kid is a warrior. He competed his tail off the whole night,” Streeter sad. “He continued to battle. He got hit a whole lot. I am really proud of him for a lot of things. I think he learned a lot of things tonight, too.”
–photo courtesy of the Orange Bowl