Clemson football now knows its opponent for the 2022 Orange Bowl and there’ll be a lot of orange involved.
The Tigers will face the 10-2 Tennessee Volunteers in the Capital One Orange Bowl on December 30 at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN.
At 8-0 Tennessee appeared destined for the College Football Playoff, even with the subsequent loss to Georgia.
However, a November 19 trip to Columbia, South Carolina ended those hopes and star quarterback Hendon Hooker was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
Even without Hooker, the Volunteers offense will likely pose a significant challenge to the Tigers defense.
Hooker’s replacement, Joe Milton III, completed only 11 of 21 passes in the season finale against Vanderbilt, but Tennessee ran for 362 yards in a 56-0 romp.
Meanwhile, Clemson fans have renewed hope with the play of freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik, who was 20 of 24 for 279 yards through the air, led the team with 30 yards rushing and even caught a pass in the 39-10 win over North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game.
In the short term, this theoretically gives Klubnik 15 practices with the first-team offense that should pay dividends not just on December 30th, but also next season, since he’s played sparingly this season before Saturday night.
Tennessee has the top offense in the nation in terms of yards per play and yards per game, but that was done with the electric Hooker behind center and Vanderbilt proved to be less than stellar competition in Milton’s one start.
It was announced Sunday that Volunteer offensive coordinator Alex Golesh, the team’s primary play-caller, has accepted the head coaching job at South Florida, replacing former Clemson offensive coordinator Jeff Scott.
Clemson football will have to deal with superstar wideout Jalin Hyatt, a native of South Carolina
The up-and-down Clemson defensive backfield will also have to contend with Tennessee superstar wide receiver Jalin Hyatt who has 67 receptions for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season.
Hyatt, a junior, was a 4-star recruit out of Dutch Fork High School in Irmo in the class of 2020, was ranked number 197 overall and committed to Tennessee in July of 2019.
According to his 247sports.com recruiting profile, Hyatt did not have an offer from Clemson.
The Tigers, of course, have their own 4-star Dutch Fork graduate at wide receiver, as freshman Antonio Williams hails from that program.