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Clemson Football

Clemson Defeats Florida Atlantic in Prime Time, 48-14

September 17, 2023

CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson (2-1) forced four turnovers and held Florida Atlantic (1-2) scoreless until the fourth quarter en route to a 48-14 win at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. As a unit, Clemson’s defense registered three interceptions, including one for a touchdown, one forced fumble, a turnover on downs, two sacks and 10 tackles for loss. 

On offense, Clemson produced 367 total yards and did not allow any sacks for the first time this season, marking the 38th consecutive game that Clemson has won when not allowing a sack. Quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 16-of-27 passes for 169 yards with three passing touchdowns and rushed six times for 35 yards and a touchdown. The running backs shared the wealth, totaling 163 yards. 

Clemson opened the scoring on the game’s fourth play from scrimmage, as cornerback Nate Wiggins read quarterback Casey Thompson’s eyes and returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown. 

After another short Florida Atlantic possession, Klubnik capped off a 79-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to freshman Tyler Brown, marking the first touchdown catch of Brown’s collegiate career. 

Later in the first quarter, safety Khalil Barnes undercut a Thompson pass and recorded his first career interception at FAU’s 26-yard line. Capitalizing on the interception, Jake Briningstool made a contested seven-yard catch in the end zone to make the score 20-0 with 1:42 left in the first quarter.

On Clemson’s next possession, Klubnik found an open Adam Randall in the red zone for a 28-yard completion, setting up a Phil Mafah 19-yard rushing touchdown. Klubnik later brought Clemson’s halftime advantage to 34-0 with a one-yard touchdown plunge.

Following two punts each from both Clemson and Florida Atlantic to start the second half, Wade Woodaz recorded Clemson’s third takeaway of the game with an interception and a 59-yard return. 

An explosive 44-yard punt return from Brown put Clemson back in scoring position. Brown was heavily featured on the ensuing drive with a contested 17-yard catch and then a two-yard catch for a touchdown, increasing Clemson’s lead to 41-0 at the end of the third quarter. 

Upon retiring Klubnik in the fourth quarter, Hunter Helms led Clemson on an 80-yard scoring drive, highlighted by Domonique Thomas rushing for 23 total yards, including his first NCAA rushing touchdown to give Clemson a 48-7 lead. 

With 3:45 left to play, linebacker Kobe McCloud punched the ball free and Zaire Patterson recovered the fumble to give Clemson the ball back on their own 20-yard line, Clemson’s fourth takeaway of the game. After Clemson was forced to punt, Florida Atlantic added seven more points on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Javion Posey to Devin Price, making the final score 48-14. 

Clemson will wrap up its current three-game homestand next Saturday, Sept. 23, with a marquee matchup against Florida State at Memorial Stadium. The game is slated to kick off at noon ET on ABC.

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