Before Clemson's game against Duke last Saturday, we asked five questions. Here are the answers the Tigers gave us during their 56-20 route:
Chad Morris is always coaching up his offense.
1-Can the Clemson offensive line step up this week and create better running lanes?
Yes they did. Clemson was able to pile up 339 yards, 52 carries, 6.5 yard average and 2 rushing touchdowns. The Clemson offensive line opened up holes and without Andre Ellington reserves DJ Howard, Rod McDowell and Zack Brooks were all able to be effective Saturday night.
This was a much more solid performance for the Clemson offensive line. Also to note all 13 of the traveling offensive lineman for the Tigers played Saturday night. Dabo Swinney said he was very impressed with Isaiah Battle.
2-Can Clemson avoid the slow start it had the last four games?
Clemson came out and snuffed Duke out early with three straight touchdown passes to Nuk Hopkins. By halftime quarterback Tajh Boyd had 5 touchdown passes and one rushing as Clemson lead 42-17 at halftime.
By starting faster Clemson got some playing time for their reserves and some rest for the starters. This is the composure and maturity you want to see out of Clemson in road games in the ACC.
3-Can the young Clemson secondary stop the Duke passing game?
Clemson was able to slow it down and hold Duke to three points in the second half. The Tiger secondary also made some big errors too. Duke still managed to throw the ball for 257 yards passing and two touchdown passes that could have easily been stopped.
Is it improvement, yes. The Clemson secondary still has a lot of work to do to get ready for NC State and South Carolina. The top of the list is finding the ball in the air and not letting receivers get behind you.
4-Can the Clemson defensive line get pressure on Sean Renfree?
Clemson had four sacks against Duke. One each from Jarrett, Watson, Beasley and Barnes. This is big progress for the Clemson front four. Enough can't be said about the job Dan Brooks has done with this group. Brooks has crafted and polished together a youthful group in to playing solid football late in the season.
5-Will Clemson continue to show maturity on the road?
These are the games Clemson fans held their breath on when Tommy Bowden was around. Credit Dabo Swinney for this teams maturity and not letting them stub their toes against Boston College, Wake Forest and Duke on the road. You can't underscore enough how tough it is to get your team up for these games where less than twenty thousand fans show up to watch you play. It takes a sharp focus. It's much easier to get up when 83,000 fans are watching you.