CLEMSON, SC -- When the final gun mercifully sounded on Saturday, the same Duke football team that entered Death Valley as a team seemingly on the rise had suddenly reached a new low.
After giving up 58-points and 558-yards of total offense to Clemson and amassing only 202-yards and seven points on their own, the Blue Devils looked every bit the part of a defeated team as they spoke with the media.
“It’s really frustrating to go out and get beat in basically every aspect of the game. Clemson played a great game and we didn’t,” Duke wide receiver Richmond Flowers said.
“Everything that could go wrong did go wrong and the beating that we took was the result. Clemson played great. We just got it handed to us today,” said quarterback Spencer Romine.
Romine was the most frequent victim of Clemson linebacker Keith Adams’ one-man assault on Blue Devil quarterbacks. Adams finished the game with a school record five sacks, including three of Romine.
“I let him time the snap count a few times and that’s completely my fault. He’s a good player; we knew coming into the game that he was going to be something we had to contend with and we just couldn’t stop him,” Romine said.
Duke coach Carl Franks might not have known Adams’ name in his post game press conference but he certainly knew the sophomore bulldozer’s number.
“43? They lined him up in the middle and blitzed him, they lined him up outside and blitzed him, and we had a hard time doing anything with him,” Franks said.
The Blue Devils were out of sync most of the afternoon and Romine credited Clemson’s cleverly disguised defenses as the reason.
“On any given play you don’t know what they’re going to do until the second the ball is snapped. You never know how many they’re going to bring or who they’re going to bring. The element of surprise was a big factor,” he said.
Defensively, Duke appeared to be lost right out of the gate. Blue Devil linebacker Ryan Stallmeyer was one of many Duke defenders searching for answers after the game.
“We felt confident coming into the game but then bullets started flying and they started scoring a lot of touchdowns early,” Stallmeyer said.
When asked if he felt Clemson resembled a 4-4 team entering the game, Franks perhaps summed up the day for the Blue Devils.
“They didn’t play like one today, but we didn’t give them much competition. They could do about anything they wanted out there.”