A year after being the newcomer everybody came to see in the spring game, Cade Klubnik was even more the center of attention on Saturday.
The sophomore quarterback is the undisputed starter and took the field with the first-team offense in the Orange and White Game at Memorial Stadium, which his White squad won 20-13.
This year, Klubnik ran a new offense under coordinator Garrett Riley.
“Overall today, lots of ups and downs, but you know I think as a whole, just super excited to put some long drives together,” Klubnik said after the spring game. “Had some big plays, had a couple of good scrambles. But overall I mean I feel like we had great protection up front. I feel I got a lot of time.”
Klubnik didn’t throw a touchdown pass, and he only completed 55% of his passes (18-of-33) for 190 yards. But he led his team on a key first-half touchdown drive that covered 75 yards in 10 plays.
“I think we succeeded in a lot of really good ways today,” Klubnik said about a White team that racked up 313 yards, mostly with him at the helm. “I’d say the biggest part was we put really long drives together which is just really good, especially in the spring game.”
In the second half, the Klubnik-led White team had a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a game-tying 1-yard TD run by Keith Adams Jr.
He also only completed three of his last 10 passing attempts, and the White team was bailed out by an pick-six by Khalil Barnes that put them up for good.
Klubnik had six completions of 15 yards or more, including a long of 24, but he did toss a pair of interceptions on back-to-back throws. Both passes were tipped balls that the other team came down with. R.J. Mickens had the first one on a pass broken up by Jamal Anderson, and Andrew Mukuba picked off the other after cornerback Nate Wiggins made a great play to bat it to him.
“Obviously, we want them back, but not sure what all I would have done differently,” Klubnik said. “Sometimes just got to hand it to (the defense), made a great play on both of them.”
Klubnik said he was glad the offense was able to use middle of the field and get the tight ends involved. Jake Briningstool had 56 yards on three catches while Banks Pope had 67 yards on four receptions.
Klubnik said he wasn’t sure how much of the new offense Clemson put on display, but he felt like they got better.
Despite being called down four times for sacks, he thought his pocket presence was good except for one play in the red zone when the running back target got covered up and he held the ball too long resulting in one of them.
There was one area he would’ve like to have seen the offense perform better at on Saturday.
“I don’t think we had a great tempo like we’ve had all spring,” Klubnik said. “I wish we had gotten the tempo going a little bit better today.”
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