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Team Orange defeats Team White with impressive defensive showing in spring game

Mya McKenzie
Several young stars who have already proven themselves with flashes of potential in recent years once again placed their talents on display for the annual Spring Game; pictured, rising junior linebacker Wade Woodaz (17) jumps to block a pass from rising junior quarterback Cade Klubnik.

While the sunny warmth of the April weather and the blue sky drew fans to Death Valley for the Clemson spring game, Team Orange’s defense kept the fans in their seats. Team Orange defeated Team White 27-12 in front of an estimated 47,000 people on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

With 14 tackles for loss, nine sacks and a pick six, Team Orange had a significant performance from its emerging young players.

Defensive tackle Stephiylan Green — who played 13 defensive snaps last year while redshirting — was responsible for four of the nine sacks that the defense posted. Sophomore linebacker Jamal Anderson also added a pick six and four tackles, including one for a loss. Redshirt sophomore Jahiem Lawson secured the other interception in the third quarter, laying out to intercept the ball on the two-yard line while preventing a touchdown.

“A real tight group just being physical and fast and playing with a lot of effort and a lot of fun,” said Anderson of the defense.

While Team Orange’s defense put on an impressive performance, the offense struggled to gain momentum for much of the game. Quarterback Cade Klubnik had a challenging day, completing 13-of-26 for 158 yards with an interception and two sacks. But he reminded everyone he has a good deep ball, connecting with Adam Randall on a 55-yard completion in the second half.

“Obviously, spring games can be tough at times,” Klubnik said. “But, you know, it was fun to get out there and get in a kind of gameday environment.”

On the other hand, Trent Pearman performed well as the second quarterback for both teams. The redshirt sophomore walk-on completed 10-of-13 passes for 113 yards for Team Orange, including a back-shoulder fade to Bryant Wesco Jr. for a 9-yard touchdown pass.

His standout moment occurred for Team White in the second quarter when he broke free for a 49-yard touchdown run and somersaulted into the endzone.

“I just tried to do my job,” Pearman said, “and whether that’s helping Cade or going out there and helping the team, I just try to do whatever my role is and maximize it.”

Team White struck first in the game, but their offense faltered after a few decent drives, and they failed to score at all in the second half. Rising sophomore quarterback Christopher Vizzina struggled under center, completing 14-of-25 passes for 108 yards but having two interceptions and eight sacks.

Tight end Josh Sapp emerged as the top receiver for his side, hauling in three receptions for 60 yards. The redshirt sophomore established himself as a tight end behind Jake Briningstool, who did not participate in the game yesterday.

Looking at the defensive side, probable starters Wade Woodaz and mid-year enrollee Sammy Brown both tallied eight tackles each. Brown also secured a sack to open the game, accounting for his sole tackle for loss, while Woodaz added another later in the game.

On the special teams front, the kicking competition continues to shape up. Mid-year enrollee Nolan Hauser converted both of his field goals for Team White, hitting one from 29 yards and another from 48. Meanwhile, Robert Gunn III had trouble, going 1-for-3 with misses from 37 and 55 yards, although he did manage to convert a 36-yard field goal for Team Orange.

This marked the conclusion of Clemson’s spring practice window as they prepare to gear up for the upcoming season. They will open their season against the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Aug. 31.

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About the Contributors
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
Mya McKenzie, Senior Photographer
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