2 Things Clemson must do
4 Players to Watch
7 Predictions on the game
2 things that Clemson must do
Clemson must slow down Duke’s passing attack
The high flying Duke passing attack, led by quarterback Sean Renfree and wide receiver Connor Vernon, has led the Blue Devils to an impressive tie for first place in the ACC Coastal Division. The Tiger secondary has been depleted by injuries (Robinson, Williams, Breeland & Peters), but expect to get Breeland and Peters back this weekend. However, despite those injuries, the Tiger defense has gotten better with each game. They must continue to do so and find a way to slow down the duo of Renner and Vernonif the Tigers are going to come out of Durham with a win.
Clemson must get the ground game going again
Over the past two games, the Clemson rushing attack has been very underwhelming against two defenses that are in the bottom half of the conference in stopping the run. Clemson rushed for 135 yards versus Virginia Tech (3.0 yards per carry) and 101 yards versus Wake Forest (2.2 yards per carry). Those two rushing defenses are ranked 8thand 9th respectively in the ACC. The Clemson offensive line needs to re-establish their physical presence like they did early in the season to get Andre Ellington going.
4 players to watch
Sammy Watkins – After a season marred with suspensions & sickness, Watkins was finally 100% healthy and ready to go last week versus Wake Forest; and it showed in his performance. Watkins had a school record 202 receiving yards, and added a touchdown. The Duke passing defense is porous, and can easily be taken advantage of by Watkins speed.
Andre Ellington – Andre Ellington has not had a 100 yard game since September 29th versus Boston College. Although the Tiger offense has many weapons, when Ellington is effective, everything opens up for Boyd and the passing game. If Ellington get’s going, then Clemson could run away from Duke in a hurry.
Sean Renfree - Duke quarterback, Sean Renfree, suffered a head injury last week versus Florida State. Duke coach David Cutcliffe had the following to day regarding Renfree- "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." Renfree isaveraging 235.6 passing yards per game, and is ranked 4th in the ACC in passing efficiency (138.6). He’s accurate, and can find wide receivers if given time. The Clemson defensive line (who has show marked improvement over the past 2 games) must pressure Renfree and force him to make mistakes.
Connor Vernon – Duke wide receiver, Conner Vernon is ranked 3rd in the ACC in receiving yards per game (84.6), and is 4th in the ACC in receptions per game (6.0). He is the ACC’s all-time leading receiver, and can find holes in the defensive secondary. Clemson’s secondary will need to account for Vernon on every play.
7 Predictions on the game
-The Clemson defense will continue its trend and force at least 1 turn over.
-Andre Ellington will rush for 100+ yards.
-Sammy Watkins follows up his performance at Wake with another 100+ yard receiving performance.
-The Clemson offense will not take 10 minutes to score versus the Duke defense.
-The Clemson defensive line will continue to show improvement.
-Connor Vernon will have 6 receptions.
-Clemson leaves Durham 8-1 (5-1)