1- Can the Clemson offensive line step up this week and create better running lanes?
Against Wake Forest Clemson had 45 rushing attempts for 101 yards for a 2.2 yards per carry average. The week before Clemson had the same 45 rushing attempts for 135 yards and 3.0 yards per carry.
Hardly the numbers this running game was producing early in the season. For this stretch run the last four games this offensive line has to find the edge it had early in the season where the running game was on fire.
2- Can Clemson avoid the slow start it had the last four games?
Boston College, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest were all games Clemson came out of the gate slowly. Clemson got the win in ever game but how many times can you start like that before it comes back to bite you? Clemson will 100% focus these last four games to finish what the season the way they want which is 11-1. And, who knows maybe Florida State drops on in Blacksburg on a Thursday night. Handle you business first quarter to the last whistle.
3- Can the young Clemson secondary stop the Duke passing game?
Sean Renfree and Juwan Thompson returned to practice Tuesday for Duke. While the Duke offense is an average 68th in the nation in offense the Devils are 36th in the nation in pass offense with 271 yards per game. Clemson got corner back Bashaud Breeland back to practice Tuesday and hope to have him ready play Saturday.
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is a great play caller and will test the Clemson secondary. The Clemson secondary will have to keep things in front of them and tackle well Saturday night. Will the Tiger secondary be up to the challenge?
4- Can the Clemson defensive line get pressure on Sean Renfree?
The Clemson defensive line has progressively improved throughout the season. The Tigers are still 70th in sacks which is up twenty or so spots from three weeks ago. If the defensive line can get pressure on Renfree even if it's not a sack it will alter what Duke wants to do on offense. Saturday night can Clemson be pesky frustrate Duke quarterback Sean Renfree?
5- Will Clemson continue to show maturity on the road?
These games on the road at Boston College, Wake Forest and Duke seem fairly straight forward but they aren't. They are usually less than 30,000 fans, not noisy and require more focus. It's easy to get up for 83,000 people and play well.
You want to see Clemson continue to show maturity here and go in to Durham and handle their business first snap to last. Taking the next step as a program is being accountable for these games just like you are against Florida State and Virginia Tech. You see it every week; teams fall asleep at the wheel and get upset by a lesser talented team who wanted it more.