Last year, Keith Adams single-handedly destroyed the Blue Devil offense with 14 tackles, including four quarterback sacks.
On September 30, 1989, the Duke Blue Devils knocked off seventh-ranked Clemson
21-17 in Wallace Wade Stadium. Eleven years later on the same date, the Tigers
again roll into Durham sporting a 4-0 record and a #7 ranking. Could another
titanic Blue Devil upset be in the making? Will the upstart Dukies dash another
promising start for the Tigers?
OK, forget the melodrama. The stark reality is that Duke stands about as much
of a chance as the members of NSYNC in a prison riot.
QUARTERBACKS- With starter Spencer Romine recovering from a concussion
suffered against Vanderbilt the Blue Devils will turn to senior Bobby Campbell
of sophomore D. Bryant to handle the quarterbacking duties against Clemson.
While Campbell has a significant edge in terms of experience, the athleticism
of Bryant could potentially pose more problems for the Tiger defense. As for
Clemson, consider that Virginia's defense is vastly superior to Duke's and Woodrow
Dantzler ran for 220 yards against the Cavaliers. Much like in a marathon, it
might be prudent for Clemson managers to stand along the sidelines holding cups
of Gatorade for the junior quarterback to grab while sprinting past.
RUNNINGBACKS- The Blue Devils have gained a paltry 294 yards on the ground
in four games. Clemson averages 301 yards per game on the ground. You don't
have to be a Duke grad to figure this one out.
CLEMSON RECEIVERS VS. DUKE SECONDARY- With two juniors and two sophomores
making up the defensive backfield, Duke has already allowed 1076 yards through
the air. Teams average an incredible 13 yards per catch and have combined for
eight passing touchdowns against the Blue Devils. Enjoy, Mr. Gardner.
DUKE RECIEVERS VS. CLEMSON SECONDARY- The loss of 1999 starters Scottie
Montgomery and Richmond Flowers left Duke with a thin and inexperienced received
corps. Senior Nick Hartofilis leads the Blue Devils with eleven receptions so
far and has Duke's only receiving touchdown. While Clemson has been solid at
both safety positions and with Alex Ardley at one cornerback spot, the Tigers
need more consistent play out of Darrell Crutchfield and Brian Mance opposite
CLEMSON OFFENSIVE LINE VS. DUKE DEFENSIVE LINE- The Blue Devils returned
no starters on the defensive line from 1999- a fact that doesn't bode well considering
that Duke chiefly operates from a 3-4 set. Starters Troy Austin, Nick Wilkerson,
and Charles Porter all are undersized and, in the cases of Wilkerson and Porter,
largely inexperienced. Simply put, the Tiger offensive line will be in a great
position to open up gaping holes for Dantzler, Travis Zachery, and Bernard Rambert.
DUKE OFFENSIVE LINE VS. CLEMSON DEFENSIVE LINE- Three of Duke's seven
returning starters for 2000 consists of offensive linemen Troy Andrew, John
Miller, and Wes White. Unfortunately for the Head Coach Carl Franks, the Blue
Devils have failed to establish any semblance of a running game while giving
up 15 quarterback sacks in four games. The Tigers should be able to physically
dominate Duke up front with an increasingly deep and potent defensive line attack.
LINEBACKERS- Last year, Keith Adams single-handedly destroyed the Blue Devil
offense with 14 tackles, including four quarterback sacks. A repeat performance
could be in the cards for Saturday. Duke's Todd Delamielleure is a strong run-stopper
with big-play abilities.
SPECIAL TEAMS- One of Duke's only bright spots has been the play of
punter Brian Morton. In more action than Franks would care to have seen the
senior is averaging over 45 yards per punt in 32 attempts. Clemson's Jekyll
and Hyde special teams play against Virginia had to leave the Tiger coaches
scratching their heads. The ability is certainly present; now it's just a matter
of establishing a degree of consistency.
COACHING- In his second year at Duke, Carl Franks finds himself with
a team sorely lacking in both experience and talent. At this juncture, the Blue
Devils appear to be a Division-1A program in name only, playing in front of
paltry crowds at tiny Wallace Wade Stadium and struggling to attract both fans
and recruits. In direct contrast, Tommy Bowden has the Clemson program rolling
into a future that appears brighter every week. With the dim state of their
football program, perhaps Duke fans will be able to take solace in the fact
that they beat the Tigers three times by a total of 78 points this past basketball
season. But then again, are most Duke fans even aware that they have a football
PREDICTION: Clemson- 56 Duke- 6