DANIA BEACH, Fla. — Nothing has changed for Cade Klubnik, other than the fact he will be starting for No. 7 Clemson when it takes on No. 6 Tennessee Friday night in the Orange Bowl Classic at Hard Rock Stadium.
“I don’t think much has really changed,” Klubnik said Tuesday from the Le Meridien Conference Center.
The true freshman is transitioning from backup quarterback to starter after his stellar performance coming off the bench in the Tigers’ ACC Championship victory over North Carolina.
Klubnik set an ACC Championship record by completing 83 percent of his 24 passes. He completed 20 of the 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown, while also running for 30 yards and another score.
After the game, head coach Dabo Swinney declared Klubnik as the starter. A few days later, former starter DJ Uiagalelei announced he was entering the transfer portal and has since landed at Oregon State.
But that is all in the past now. From this point forward, Klubnik is focused on the Volunteers and how he can lead the Tigers to another victory to close the 2022 season.
“I feel great. I feel better than I ever have,” Klubnik said. “We’ve had a great two days of practice so far. Great preparation. I am super excited for this game, and I think it’s going to lead us into next year.”
Klubnik will be facing a Tennessee defense that has had its issues this year defending the forward pass. The Vols rank 127th nationally and have allowed 21 touchdown passes. However, that is not how Klubnik sees Tennessee’s defense.
“They have a great defense. I think it’d be a great matchup for our offense,” he said. “They’ve got a great, just a great overall defense, great D-line, great linebackers, great DBs and it’ll be a really good matchup for us.”
We will see just how good when the two teams kickoff Friday at 8 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN.