Tigers Crush Blue Devils


by - Correspondent -
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Clemson's defense held Duke to 174 yards total offense, tied for its best total defense in a game this season.

CLEMSON - With Florida State in the rear view mirror and South Carolina on the horizon, Saturday's non-televised game with Duke at Death Valley had all the makings of a letdown.



Instead, Clemson did what good teams are supposed to do to inferior competition.



Pound them.



Charlie Whitehurst threw three touchdown passes, two to Derrick Hamilton in the first quarter, leading the Tigers to a 40-7 rout of the visiting Blue Devils. The victory closes out Clemson's ACC schedule at 5-3 (7-4 overall), and took place before another contingent of scouts from the Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl.



"It was a challenge for the team to do that," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said. "How would we respond after a big win? Would we be drained? Would we respond emotionally? I thought the players did a great job (especially) with this senior leadership. It's all about intensity and effort and focus of the team."



The outcome was never in doubt, the Tigers building a 24-0 lead by halftime and cruising through the second half. In fact the final score could have been much worse had Whitehurst not been intercepted twice in the end zone.



Still, the redshirt sophomore - facing the team against which he made his first career start a year ago - had another fine afternoon. His 331 passing yards (27-of-40) put Whitehurst over the 3,000 yard plateau for the season, the first quarterback in Clemson history to achieve that mark.



Despite the two interceptions, Whitehurst directed six scoring drives in the first three quarters Saturday, and finally left the game after a pair of series in the final period helped him surpass the 3,000-yard level.



"Two weeks ago we didn't know how good we were," Whitehurst said. "But I think we've proven we can play. We responded well this week, coming off such a big win last week."



Hamilton, too, went into the record books Saturday.



His two early touchdown receptions - 31 and 25 yards, respectively - give Hamilton nine scoring catches on the season, a new Clemson record. Hamilton finished the afternoon with 133 yards on six receptions. Teammate Kevin Youngblood also had six catches, good for 91 yards.



"The plan was to spread the offense and get our skilled guys a chance to make big plays," said Bowden. "Again, it's up to the players (to execute), though,a nd they did an excellent job.



Duke interim head coach Ted Roof agreed.



"They've got great receivers, and that's the story," he said. "At times we didn't attack the football...They've got NFL-type receivers. They're going to play on Sundays and we've got to do a better job."



But perhaps more important the offensive fireworks was another fine defensive effort turned in by coordinator John Lovett's unit.



The Tigers held Duke (3-8, 1-6) to just 174 yards of offense, only 54 of which came through the air.  Duke quarterbacks Mike Schneider and Chris Dapolito - who rotated in and out of the lineup all day - each threw and interception; Justin Miller got Schneider with a twisting, one-handed snag while falling down in coverage, while Jamal Fudge ended a potential scoring drive by picking off Dapolito in the end zone on the final play of the third quarter.



The lone bright spot for the Blue Devil offense was the 64 yards gained by tailback Chris Douglas. That total was enough to put him over the 3,000 yard mark for his career, making him Duke's all-time leading rusher.



It was also a good day for the Clemson special teams.



A forced fumble on a first-quarter kickoff set the Tigers up on the Duke 25. On the first play following the gaffe Whitehurst tossed a shovel pass to Hamilton, who found open space around the left end and waltzed into the endzone for his - and the team's - second score of the day.



Later, in the third quarter, Miller fielded a Duke punt at his own 37 yard line, broke through containment to his left, and streaked untouched down the sideline for a 63-yard touchdown.



"It was exciting to get out there and help the team win," said Miller. "Out main focus was not playing lackadaisical coming into this game because Duke is a great team. They've played well against some good teams, so we had to come out there and perform well..."



The victory allowed Clemson to close the home portion of its schedule with a 6-1 record.



Now the challenge is to accomplish something the Tigers haven't done since Bowden's second year - finish the regular season with at least eight victories.



To do that, Clemson must defeat archrival South Carolina next Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. The Gamecocks, who fell 24-22 Saturday at home to Florida, face the same scenario for a second consecutive season; they need to beat Clemson in order to qualify for a bowl.



"South Carolina is our rival, and you'd be crazy not to get up for this game," said Whitehurst. "We're trying to concentrate on ourselves right now and not worry about their situation. The situation is the same this year, and we've just got to be concerned with getting our eighth win right now."



Drive Chart


FIRST QUARTER

Clemson 7, Duke 0

Scoring Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards in 4:59.

Scoring Play: Whitehurst's 31-yard pass to Hamilton at 5:57.

Key Play: Whitehurst 1-yard dive on fourth-and-1 from the Duke 37.



Clemson 14, Duke 0

Scoring Drive: 1 play, 25 yards in :07.

Scoring Play: Whitehurst's 25-yard pass to Hamilton at 5:43.

Key Play: Scoring play.



SECOND QUARTER

Clemson 17, Duke 0

Scoring Drive: 6 plays, 13 yards in 1:38.

Scoring Play: Hunt's 44-yard FG at 10:25.

Key Play: None.



Clemson 24, Duke 0

Scoring Drive: 6 plays, 48 yards in 2:30.

Scoring Play: Whitehurst's 4-yard pass to Baham at 5:37.

Key Play: Whitehurst's 40-yard pass to Hamilton to the Duke 5.



THIRD QUARTER

Clemson 27, Duke 0

Scoring Drive: 13 plays, 77 yards in 4:08.

Scoring Play: Hunt's 20-yard field goal at 10:52.

Key Play: Jasmin's 22-yard run to the Duke 16.



Clemson 34, Duke 0

Scoring Play: Miller's 63-yard punt return at 3:48.



FOURTH QUARTER

Clemson 34, Duke 7

Scoring Drive: 1 play, 25 yards in :06.

Scoring Play: 25-yard run by Dargan at 13:26.

Key Play: Scoring Play.



Clemson 40, Duke 7

Scoring Drive: 9 plays, 60 yards in 3:43

Scoring Play: Stuckey's 5-yard run at 3:43 (failed).

Key Play: Browning's 21-yard run to the Duke 5-yard line.



Duke 0 0 0 7 - 7 Clemson 14 10 10 6 - 40


A-70,000.


                             Duke    Clem
First downs                    11      24
Rushes-yards               39-117  37-142
Passing                        57     344
Comp-Att-Int               7-15-2 28-43-2
Return Yards                    0      73
Punts-Avg.                  8-40.0 2-37.5
Fumbles-Lost                  1-1     1-1
Penalties-Yards              3-30    3-25
Time of Possession          27:17   32:43



INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING-Duke, Douglas 16-62, Dargan 2-28, Fryer 5-18, Dapolito 4-11, Landrum
3-8, Sharpe 2-7, Team 1-(minus 1), Schneider 6-(minus 16). Clemson, Jasmin
15-66, Coleman 7-37, Browning 3-21, Stuckey 3-12, Kelly 3-6, Whitehurst 3-3,
Baham 1-3, Hamilton 2-(minus 6).

PASSING-Duke, Dapolito 5-11-1-54, Schneider 2-4-1-3. Clemson, Whitehurst
27-40-2-331, Stuckey 1-3-0-13.

RECEIVING-Duke, Patrick 2-28, Love 2-11, Powell 1-16, Johnson 1-2. Clemson,
Hamilton 6-133, Youngblood 6-91, Grant 4-17, Coleman 3-28, Baham 2-23, Elliott
2-19, Stuckey 2-10, Collins 1-13, Harrell 1-11, Jasmin 1-(minus 1).

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