Dabo Swinney talks Cade Klubnik’s big game, Clemson QB change after ACC title win

Robert Willett/rwillett@newsobserver.com

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney addressed the team’s quarterback situation after a 39-10 ACC championship win over North Carolina on Saturday night.

Swinney benched starter DJ Uiagalelei for backup Cade Klubnik midway through the first quarter, and the latter threw for 279 yards and scored two touchdowns to give the Tigers their seventh ACC championship in eight years.

Here’s what Swinney said in his postgame interview with ABC.

“We went into the game saying we were gonna play (Klubnik) on the third series. We hoped DJ would start off well. He didn’t, and so Cade came in and did a heck of a job. The reality is, we wouldn’t have won the Atlantic (Division) and we wouldn’t have been here tonight without DJ, and we wouldn’t have won the ACC championship without Cade.

“It’s awesome to see this young man grow up. We tried to make the change at Notre Dame, he wasn’t quite ready. DJ bounced back, played well against Louisville and Miami. But tonight was an opportunity for (Cade). He’s ready. He worked his butt off all year. It’s great to see him play.”

Uiagalelei was 2 of 5 for 10 yards before being benched after two series. Klubnik, a former five-star recruit from Texas, provided an immediate spark for Clemson’s offense and ended up leading three consecutive touchdown drives and four consecutive scoring drives in the first half.