Cade Klubnik on FSU Loss: ‘I Should’ve Handed the Ball Off’ on OT Third Down

Cade Klubnik’s split-second decision on third-and-1 in overtime proved to be the wrong one and put the Clemson Tigers in a tough spot in overtime.

Down 31-24 after Florida State had just scored on a 24-yard TD pass to start overtime, Will Shipley ran off a 9-yard gain on second down, setting up the a short-yardage situation. 

On a read-option play, Klubnik didn’t hand the ball off to Shipley, who would’ve gotten the first down. Instead, he threw a screen pass on the outside to Adam Randall, who was dropped for a loss. 

Clemson didn’t converted the fourth-and-2. FSU won. The Tigers fell to 2-2 on the season and 0-2 in ACC play. 

“I should’ve handed the ball off. That’s not on the coaches. It’s my fault,” Klubnik said after the game. “We had an option to the receiver side. You have the option to throw the screen. You have the option to run it. Normally my base rule is if it’s three (teammtes) over two (deffenders), we catch it, two guys block two guys, we should at least get the first down if not score.

“I’ve just got to know it’s third-and-1. Just run it. Screens can get iffy on third downs so just hand it off and go get the first. That’s my fault.”

It wasn’t the only play he’d like to have back. Klubnik also fumbled on a sack and the ball was picked up and run back for a 56-yard TD by Kalen Deloach. 

The sophomore QB did make some big plays, though, tossing a touchdown to Shipley, rushing for another and throwing for 283 yards in the 31-24 loss.

Here’s what else he had to say after the game:

  • On the loss: “I really hope everyone saw what this team is capable of. We played really good against the No. 4 team in the country. At the end of the day, we just got to finish. It was one play. That’s what this game comes down to.”
  • The fumble was caused by “a little bit of a protection issue.” It looked like Phil Mafah missed his assignment on the blitz. 
  • On bouncing back next week at Syracuse: “We can’t let this loss lead to others. Can’t let it linger. Got to bounce back.”
  • On the fourth-down pass to Beaux Collins: Ball was tipped by the defensive end. “There’s not a whole lot you can do there. He just made a great play.”
  • On growing up as an offense: “We’re growing every single week. We’re just getting better. We’ve just got to finish that game. So close.”

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