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Clemson’s defense, Cade Klubnik shine in spring game

Aralynn Minnick, Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik (2) looks towards the endzone during Clemson’s 2022 spring game.

On a windy Saturday afternoon, Clemson’s defense stole the show in the Tigers’ spring game as the White team left Memorial Stadium victorious.
Led by senior defensive end K.J. Henry, who had 3 1/2 sacks and six total tackles, the White team held Orange to seven points, ultimately coming out with a 15-7 win. 
The White team’s defense finished with seven sacks and held Orange to -17 rushing yards. That defensive success was replicated by the Orange team as well, which had six sacks. As units, both teams held their opposing offenses to under 200 total yards of offense. 
There wasn’t much production from an offensive standpoint with the pressure that the defenses were putting on the offenses. Still, fans were able to see mid-year enrollee Cade Klubnik lead the White team to a victory.
Klubnik, a five-star quarterback from Austin, Texas, finished the game with 106 yards and one touchdown on 15-23 passing. Although sacked five times, Klubnik had the lone big rushing gain on the day after he scrambled for 14 yards.
“He’s one of the most self-driven kids you’re ever going to be around,” Swinney said of Klubnik after the game. “He just keeps getting better, and he’ll just keep learning.”
Klubnik’s teammate, rising sophomore receiver Dacari Collins, went down with a left arm injury and was taken to the locker room. Swinney said after the game that Collins will be sore but should be ready to train in the summer. 
On the other side of the field, rising junior quarterback DJ Uiagelelei finished the game with 175 yards and had one interception and zero touchdowns. 
After the game, head coach Dabo Swinney reaffirmed that Uiagalelei is the team’s starter as the team heads into the summer. 
“DJ [Uiagalelei] is definitely our starter,” Swinney said. “He’s had a great spring. He’s not done anything to not be the starter.” 
Uiagalelei didn’t find the end zone on Saturday but connected with senior wide receiver Joseph Ngata and junior wide receiver Hampton Earle, who combined for 115 of Uiagalelei’s 175 passing yards. 
Meanwhile, Clemson running back Phil Mafah scored Orange’s only touchdown after falling into the end zone on a six-yard run. He finished with 26 rushing yards on nine attempts. 
Saturday’s game served as the Tigers’ 15th and final practice session as the semester wraps up. Now, for Swinney, the priority is getting his team healthy before summer practice begins. 

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