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Duke Review


  by - Radio Host - Monday, November 5, 2012 12:11 PM
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Duke Review
I feel like every time I write a review of a game this season I have to preface it by saying, "This was not a win against a great opponent, but...."

Like most of the eight wins this season, the Tigers came out and looked very impressive once again in dominating Duke on the road.

Clemson could have broken the school record for total yards of 756 yards set against Wake Forest in 1981. Instead they called off the dogs and put up ONLY 718 yards, which is second most in school history. The Tigers did set the school record for yards in a half with 487 in the first half.

The rest of the offensive numbers were once again impressive. They recorded 34 first downs. Clemson had over 300 yards rushing and passing for just the second time in school history. The Tigers broke a school record for games with 500 yards of total offense with six.

The 334 rushing yards were a season high which is remarkable since Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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missed the entire game after the first play where he ran for 26 yards.

The running game was fueled by a dominating offensive line performance. Dabo said Sunday that Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 305
Spartanburg, SC

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played perhaps his finest game. He also singled out Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
Gr. Center
#55 6-5, 265
Pelion, SC

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, Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
RS Jr. Offensive Guard
#62 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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and Gifford TimothyGifford Timothy
RS So. Offensive Tackle
#70 6-6, 310
Middletown, DE

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.

Rod McDowell (12-83), D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS So. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
Lincoln, AL

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(12-65), Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Fr. Running Back
#24 6-1, 185
Jonesboro, AR

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(12-67) and Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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(9-72) picked up the slack from Ellington. It was nice to see the three other tailbacks make a big impact. This was the most we have seen from Brooks and he looked much improved.

Boyd was once again fantastic in the passing game by going 16 of 23 for 344 yards with five touchdowns. He spread the ball around to the entire receiving corps after he threw three scores to Nuk Hopkins in the first quarter.

It was another brilliant night for Hopkins who only had four receptions but they went for 128 yards and three scores. Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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had another good outing with six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.

This night also saw Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
So. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 200
Calhoun Falls, SC

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catch a 41-yard touchdown pass and was the second straight game Charone PeakeCharone Peake
So. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 200
Moore, SC

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scored. However, I was more surprised to see Duke continue to try to defend Clemson with man coverage. That was a complete mismatch.

Brandon FordBrandon Ford
Gr. Tight End
#80 6-4, 240
Wando, SC

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left the game early with an injury but Sam CooperSam Cooper
RS So. Tight End
#86 6-5, 250
Brentwood, TN

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responded with a couple of nice catches for 30 yards. Jaron BrownJaron Brown
Gr. Wide Receiver
#18 6-2, 205
Cheraw, SC

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added a key 34 yard reception early and Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
So. Wide Receiver
#16 5-11, 190
Spartanburg, SC

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contributed two catches. Even Daniel Rodriquez added a reception.

In all, the offense ran 81 plays and punted only once. The Tigers were 7-10 on third downs but the offense could have been even better if it weren't for four turnovers.

Among the other positives was the fact the reserve offensive linemen saw so much action. I was really impressed with Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
Fr. Offensive Tackle
#79 6-6, 280
St. George, VA

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in watching the replay. Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 270
Mauldin, SC

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, Reid WebsterReid Webster
RS So. Offensive Line
#77 6-5, 285
Woodstock, GA

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, Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS So. Offensive Guard
#67 6-5, 330
Chester, SC

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, Shaq AnthonyShaq Anthony
RS Fr. Offensive Tackle
#76 6-4, 265
Williamston, SC

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, Joe GoreJoe Gore
RS Fr. Offensive Tackle
#73 6-5, 275
Lake Waccamaw, NC

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and Eric MacLain all saw action in the final quarter.

The defense started slow by allowing 17 points in the Blue Devils first four drives but they once again improved as the game progressed. In Duke's final 11 drives, Clemson gave up just one field goal.

Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey
RS Jr. Linebacker
#33 6-3, 230
Charlotte, NC

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played well once again and was the defensive player of the game. The Tigers added four sacks on an offense that allowed only ten sacks all year coming into the game. Clemson also had eight tackles for loss. The sacks came from Josh WatsonJosh Watson
RS So. Defensive Tackle
#91 6-4, 285
Wilmington, DE

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, Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
RS So. Defensive End
#3 6-3, 225
Adairsville, GA

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, Tavaris BarnesTavaris Barnes
RS So. Defensive End
#6 6-4, 275
Jacksonville, FL

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and Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett
So. Defensive Tackle
#50 6-1, 290
Conyers, GA

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.

Like the offense, the defense played a bunch of guys including Kevin DoddKevin Dodd
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#98 6-5, 280
Greer, SC

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, Carlos WatkinsCarlos Watkins
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#94 6-3, 300
Forest City, NC

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, Lateek TownsendLateek Townsend
So. Linebacker
#20 6-2, 215
Bennettsville, SC

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, Rod Byers, B.J. GoodsonB.J. Goodson
RS So. Linebacker
#44 6-1, 240
Timmonsville, SC

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, Tony StewardTony Steward
So. Linebacker
#7 6-1, 235
Hastings, FL

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and Robert SmithRobert Smith
So. Safety
#27 5-11, 210
St. George, SC

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.

Perhaps the best news is the improvement on the defensive line. Jarrett plays extremely hard. Watson and Williams continue to improve. D.J. ReaderD.J. Reader
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#48 6-3, 335
Greensboro, NC

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has great flexibility and moves well for his size. Carlos Watkins is raw but he has a chance to be a very good player. The defensive ends are playing better in the second half of the season because they have made more plays and been more consistent. This improvement along the defensive line has made it easier on the back seven.

In summary, this was not an epic win because the opponent was simply overmatched. Clemson fans should not be excited just because the Tigers have beaten Wake Forest and Duke on the road, but they should be very excited about the way the Tigers played. Clemson came out and completely dominated the Blue Devils in every facet of the game from the opening drive. That should be exciting.

Tiger fans should also be excited about the idea of being 10-1 heading into the season finale against the arch rivals. The Tigers are massive favorites this week against Maryland and should be double digit favorites against NC State the following week. A 10-1 record heading into the finale is an exciting possibility to this observer.

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