Miami Gardens: The Cole Klubnik era as the starting quarterback at Clemson opened with a dud. Klubnik had some nice passing numbers, but he wasn’t able to get the Tigers in the end zone when they had chances in a 31-14 loss to Tennessee Friday night in the Orange Bowl.
And it didn’t help that normally dependable field goal kicker BJ Potter missed on his first three attempts.
Clemson also was stuffed on a fake field goal attempt. Potter did connect on a pair, meaning six of their drives ended with the field goal team on the field, and Dabo Swinney said after the game he knew field goals would not be enough to win this game.
The Tigers were also stopped on downs at the Tennessee 30 and came away with no points when the first half clock expired with them at the Tennessee 13, so eight trips within sign of the Tennesse end zone ended without a Clemson touchdown.
Clemson ran 101 plays on the night to 66 for Tennessee, owned the football for 36 minutes and outgained the Vols by 109 yards. But none of that mattered because they could only find the end zone one time.
Clemson finished the season 11-3 and with the ACC Championship, but losses in two of their final three games to USC and Tennessee put a bit of a damper on the entire season, and certainly raises the question as to whether Clemson remains among the elite in college football.