Sammy Watkins set a school record for reception yards against Wake Forest.
Clemson travels to Duke Saturday night for 7 pm kick off. Another road trip to a dreary environment where Clemson's focus has to sharp.
The Clemson offense has started off slow the last four games. This is a game where you need to see Clemson take that next step mentally and step on Dukes throat early and often. This isn't a game a game Clemson needs to get in a shootout or have a close contest late in the third quarter.
Clemson should be able to run the ball Saturday against a bad Duke defense. I look for offensive coordinator Chad Morris to get Andre Ellington going early and pound the Devils on the ground. I expect more of the Sammy Watkins we saw last week and heavy doses of Nuk Hopkins and company.
Clemson's defense continues the trend and gets a little better this week. Tigers roll.
When the schedule comes out and you see Duke as one of the cross-divsion match ups, you usually chalk that game up to an automatic win. However, as luck would have it for Clemson, they catch the Blue Devils having one of their best seasons in years while the remainder of the Coastal Division looks as pedestrian as ever. The key to the turnaround in Durham? A prolific offense under the direction of noted a offensive guru, Head Coach David Cutcliffe.
When Cutcliffe took over in Durham everyone knew it would be a an uphill climb from the deepest of valleys, as the Blue Devil football program achieved only 6 wins against 45 losses in Ted Roof's five years at the helm. In the five years since, Duke has made steady improvement while upgrading the talent base, and currently sits at 6-3 on the 2012 season with a chance for bowl eligibility should they win just one more game. Could that bowl clinching victory come this week against Clemson? Unlikely, as Clemson figures to outlast Duke with better personnel 1 through 85 and their own offensive fireworks. That said, Duke figures to make this a game behind talented quarterback Sean Renfree, and will extend Clemson into the third quarter before the Tigers pull away.
Despite last week’s 48-7 thrashing at the hands of the Florida State Seminoles, by all accounts, Duke is having a fantastic season. At 6-3 (3-2), the Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 (Hall of Fame Bowl); and are currently tied for 1st place in the Atlantic Coastal Division with North Carolina and Miami.
But now the highflying Tigers come to Durham. Both Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins are coming off school record performances versus Wake Forest, and are looking to repeat versus Duke’s 74th ranked defense. (81st versus the pass at 280 ypg). One big question mark is the health of Duke quarterback, Sean Renfree. Renfree suffered a head injury in the 2nd quarter versus FSU, and was replaced by back-up quarterback Anthony Boone. In reference to Renfree, Blue Devil coach David Cutcliffe said, “I can tell you he's better than I thought he would be. He's been able to get some work. We'll see. I think he's going to be cleared and good, but I can't make that call. He's, obviously, not had any contact or anything close to anything like that, but he's gotten some work." No Renfree, no chance for Duke.
Interesting note: Despite leading the all-time series versus Duke 35-16-1, the Tigers are only 6-4 in their last 10 trips to Durham. Look for that number to improve by one this weekend.
Clemson 48, Duke 27
The Blue Devils started off hot, and are defioutely still in contention in the ACC Coastal division title hunt, but over the last few weeks, David Cutcliffe's squad has started to cool off. Meanwhile, Clemson's defense is maturing, and seems to have a better grasp of Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables system each week.
Clemson's defensive line will be the difference maker in this one. ems to have a better grasp of Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables system each week. Clemson's defensive line will be the difference maker in this one. Duke's offensive line won't be able to block Clemdon's rush, forcing Sean Renfree to throw the ball earlier than he wants to, and flushing him from the pocket.
Meanwhile, The Tigers very methodically push the ball down the field on long drives and win easily