Tigers Must Keep It Rolling
The 2004 Clemson football team has gone from 1-4 start to now 5-4 and seemingly on the verge of clinching a sixth straight bowl berth. On paper, the Tigers are far superior to this Duke football team, but anyone remember two years ago. The Tigers had to furiously charge back to beat Duke 34-31. Wallace Wade does not have the atmosphere to get players attention. Several things need to happen in this weekend's matchup.
First, Charlie Whitehurst needs to throw for over 300 yards. Whitehurst had his best game of the year against Miami, but still made a couple of decisions that could have proven costly. This is a game where he needs to build some confidence in his receivers. Curtis Baham has started stepping up as the number two receiver, and Whitehurst must find some confidence in the supporting cast of Kelvin Grant, Ben Hall, and La'Donte Harris.
Secondly, Reggie Merriweather must continue to run well. The more confidence the Tigers can build in the running game, the more successful they will be as the year closes out. Merriweather had his first 100 yard game last week against Miami. With questions regarding Duane Coleman's health, Merriweather will get a heavy percentage of the carries. As Merriweather becomes more dangerous, so will the passing game.
Thirdly, come out firing. Last season, the Tigers carried the momentum and crushed Duke. That same effort will be needed Saturday. One big thing going in the Tigers favor is they have been taking care of business on defense. Defense travels, and the Tiger defense will have to set the tone in this game. A spark from the defense early could ignite a big day for the Tigers.
Lastly, One Clemson needs to be represented on Saturday. Last year, Clemson took about 12,000 people to Wake Forest. Not only does the football team need to stay focused, but so do the fans. This is only about a four and half hour trip from Clemson. A huge contingent of orange in the stands will get the players attention early. Also, a frequent question about recruiting is what do players look for? If Coach Bowden can say, that 15,000 fans followed the team to Durham that can make an impression on players.
So Tiger fans, I challenge you to make the trip and support this team.
Prediction: Clemson 38 Duke 14