CHARLOTTE — Clemson's switch to a freshman quarterback Saturday sparked the Tigers to a 39-10 victory in the ACC championship game against North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium.
And there was an igniter on defense, too.
Nate Wiggins had a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown, knocked down passes in the end zone on two different drives and also blocked a field goal. His TD was a game-sealer. It came in the third quarter with North Carolina down only 14 and having driven down to the 3-yard line.
Clemson (11-2) clinches a spot in the Orange Bowl to be played Dec. 30 in Miami against an SEC opponent. The Tigers won the ACC championship for the seventh time in eight years. They had won six in a row until failing to make it to the game last season. North Carolina (9-4) has not won the ACC title since 1980 and was making its first appearance since 2015.
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The Tigers made a change at quarterback, benching junior starter DJ Uiagalelei and going with freshman Cade Klubnik, who came in after Clemson's second series of the game and trailing, 7-0. Clemson's offense failed to get a first down with Uiagalelei but finished with more than 300 yards behind Klubnik. He completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown while also running for a TD.
"We knew we were going to put him in the third or fourth series," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "He went in and never came out."
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Clemson turns to Cade Klubnik at QB to lead Tigers to ACC championship