Durham, NC: Maybe it was the presence of Stever Spurrier in a suite at Wallace-Wade Stadium that made Clemson cough up the football like it was a piece of rotten sirloin in their 28-7 loss to Duke Monday night. Spurrier, on hand to celebrate his 1989 ACC Championship at Duke, beat Clemson a lot during his days at USC, largely because the Tigers turned the football over.
Ditto on this Monday night in basketball country. In the second half, the Tigers lost fumbles at the Duke one and seven. They had another drive reach the one before a motion penalty backed them up and led to a second blocked field goal.
The last time Duke defeated a top ten team, and Clemson was ranked 9th going in, was in that magical 1989 season, and Clemson was that team.
The debut of the Garrett Riley offense at Clemson was somewhat positive. The Tigers did churn out 422 yards, and they were balanced in the run and the pass, but there were no big plays down the field. Their longest completion was 18 yards, and they had only three passing plays of 15 yards or more.
The loss is the first one in Clemson history when they passed for over 200 yards and rushed for over 200 yards in a game. They were 108-0-1 in that category, including 58-0 under Dabo Swinney.
The defense was far from perfect as well. The highly acclaimed unit had numerous busted tackles, missed assignments and were just plainly beaten on numerous plays by the Duke offense. And the special teams had a bad night. Along with the two blocked field goals, Antonio Williams caught a punt at his own five and only made it out to his eight.