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Cade Klubnik accounts for 4 TDs as Clemson crushes FAU 48-14

Owls QB injured in first half
Clemson Tigers QB Cade Klubnik runs vs. Florida Atlantic Owls, Sept. 16, 2023
Posted at 11:49 PM, Sep 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-16 23:59:34-04

CLEMSON, S.C. — Cade Klubnik threw for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth as Clemson played its most complete game of the season in a 48-14 victory over Florida Atlantic on Saturday night.

Klubnik passed for 169 yards including touchdowns of 30 and 2 yards to freshman receiver Tyler Brown.

The defense for the Tigers (2-1) was just as strong, cornerback Nate Wiggins with a pick-6 TD return of 46 yards on the Owls' opening series.

Clemson never let up after that and held the Owls scoreless until Michael Johnson Jr.'s 2-yard TD run with 12:07 left in the game.

Most welcome for Clemson was Klubnik's steady, mistake-free performance. He had two turnovers in each of the first two games, and his fumble in an opening week, 28-7 loss at Duke, was among several miscues in the defeat.

FAU Owls QB Casey Thompson injured at Clemson Tigers, Sept. 16, 2023
Florida Atlantic quarterback Casey Thompson is shaken up after a play during the first half against Clemson, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Clemson, S.C.

The showing against Florida Atlantic (1-2) came at the right moment with Clemson seeking momentum to carry into its showdown here next week with No. 3 Florida State.

The Owls, in their first season in the American Athletic Conference, showed some fire before the game, gathering at midfield on Death Valley's paw logo to the boos of the crowd.

The swagger ended at kickoff. Four plays in, Clemson's Wiggins broke in front of quarterback Casey Thompson's pass downfield and zig-zagged his way to the end zone.

Klubnik went 5-of-5 on the Tigers' first possession, the last a commanding throw to Brown for a 30-yard touchdown and a 13-0 lead.

Thompson's second interception of the opening period led to Klubnik's second scoring pass, 7 yards to tight end Jake Briningstool.

Klubnik, who ran for 35 yards, bulled into the end zone for a final first-half touchdown from a yard out and a 34-0 lead.

Thompson, the Nebraska transfer who's started all three games for the Owls, took a hard, high hit in the second quarter and spent several minutes on the turf surrounded by trainers. He eventually got to his feet and walked, albeit unsteadily and with plenty of help, to the sidelines. Thompson, who came out in street clothes for the second half, did not return to play.

LaJohntay Wester had game-highs of 12 catches and 108 yards receiving for Florida Atlantic.