FOURTH QUARTER 10:20: Clemson 31- Duke 0 - Even though there are still 11 minutes left, we'll be signing off from Memorial Stadium as Clemson continues to hold onto its commanding lead. Duke moves to 4-6 with two games left against Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Check back later for the final and perhaps some postgame thoughts.
FOURTH QUARTER 14:46: Clemson 31- Duke 0 - In what is easily Duke's worst game of the season, the impact and talent of Thaddeus Lewis has been sorely missed. He only played in the contest's first two drives, but helped lead the Blue Devils to their only two first downs on the first half. With Asack in, Duke only called QB draws, runs, and short throws. His deepest throw was almost a full ten yards short of a sprinting Eron Riley. Duke's defense, which admittedly had a strong first half considering it was on the field for two-thirds of it, has since evaporated into a unit apt to arm tackle and slide off ballcarriers. Right now, Clemson has a commanding 451-84 total yard advantage.
THIRD QUARTER 9:28: Clemson 31- Duke 0 - Jabari Marshall has a great return past the Duke 40, and again Duke calls for an Asack draw play on first down -- the sixth time out of seven Asack-led first downs. On third down, Asack goes to the air over the middle, trying to thread it into a very narrow alley and is intercepted. Just more than a minute after their big, 83-yard score all but ended this game, the Tigers are on the move again, looking at a first-and-goal from inside the five-yard line after several big pass plays highlighted by more missed tackles. On second down, James Davis runs right up the gut and into the endzone. This game is out of hand, and Duke's bowl hopes are all but dashed, while the Tigers are on their way to an uplifting homecoming victory. There are still almost 25 minutes to play. 4 plays, 47 yards.
THIRD QUARTER 11:19: Clemson 24 - Duke 0 - In what has quickly become the biggest rout of the season, the Tigers continue to pile it on with another screen pass. Harper feigns left, then throws right to Spiller, who cuts up the middle of the Blue Devil defense, outrunning everyone and going untouched all the way to the house. 2 plays, 83 yards.
THIRD QUARTER 11:39 : Clemson 17- Duke 0 - The Tigers dominated every statistical category in the first half, including a 21 minutes: 9 minutes time-of-possession ratio. With the second half underway, Duke has now seen five first downs with Asack at the helm, and each time Cutcliffe has called for a QB draw. Although it worked to some degree on the opening play of the second half, and set up the Blue Devils' first first down since the opening drive and Asack's first completion, Clemson is starting to get a beat on it. The coaching staff is trying to establish a rhythm for Asack, though, calling all short passes and screens to move Duke into Clemson territory. After freshman wideout Johnny Williams went down with a back injury, the Blue Devils line up for a third-and-four from midfield. Asack has Riley on an out route to the left side, but throws too far behind him and Duke is forced to punt after the incompletion.
SECOND QUARTER 0:47: Clemson 17- Duke 0 - The Blue Devils haven't converted a first down since its opening drive, as Asack throws a pass low and behind a Duke receiver that would have been good enough to move the chains. Clemson returns the punt to its own 49-yard line, again set up with great field position. The Tigers move to 5-of-9 on third down with a swing pass to C.J. Spiller on third-and-five. As the clock winds down toward 1:00, Clemson calls its fifth screen play -- something the coaching staff must have noticed as a weakness in Duke's defense -- to move into first-and-goal at the nine. Spiller catches a pass over the middle, gets hit by two defenders on the five, slips them, gets nailed on the three, stays up and finally dives with the ball stretched out as two more Blue Devils hang off him for a well-fought touchdown. The play is reviewed and Clemson takes over from the half-yard line, but it makes no difference as the Tigers punch it in on the next play. Although the defense has had some timely tackles earlier, Duke displayed some terrible form on this drive -- from the called-back touchdown play to the third-down swing pass, which elicited a screaming response from head coach David Cutcliffe. 8 plays, 51 yards.
SECOND QUARTER 4:10: Clemson 10 - Duke 0 - After several solid plays that moved Clemson all the way down to the Duke 27, the Tigers call a screen pass that gets tipped up and almost intercepted for what would have surely been an return for a touchdown. Instead, Clemson maintains possession and throws a swing pass on third-and-six, on which Glenn Williams makes an excellent open-field tackle on the shifty C.J. Spiller short of the sticks. The Tigers then knock through a 39-yard field goal to increase their lead. No doubt, the Blue Devils' defense is keeping them in the game, and it doesn't appear an Asack-led offense is going to get Duke back in this game. 11 plays, 52 yards.
SECOND QUARTER 9:23: Clemson 7 - Duke 0 - Lewis remains sidelined, as Asack runs yet another QB draw, good for only three yards. On a rollout right, Asack throws a scary pass into the teeth of the Clemson defense that luckily lands incomplete. Facing a third-and-seven, Duke again goes to the air, and again Asack is under duress. Avoiding a sack, he throws a pass that falls just in front of the outstetched hands of a Clemson defender with no Blue Devil receiver within eight yards. Three-and-out, and Clemson takes over at its own 27.
SECOND QUARTER 10:17: Clemson 7 - Duke 0 - The Tigers quickly advance to midfield, b ut a 15-yard chop block penalty moves them back to a third-and-20 situation. But a Cullen Harper pass over the middle finds a seam in the Duke defense good for a 23-yard gain. Two plays later, Clemson faces another third down, this time with two yards to go. A fake dive left, pitch right play to Spiller results in a five-yard gain for another first down to the Blue Devil 25. A touchdown pass that included a terrible missed tackle by Jabari Marshall is called back on a holding call, resulting in a rain of boos from the Tiger faithful. On an important third-and 19, Oghobasse snags Harper for his second sack of the day. Clemson decides to go for a 52-yard field goal, which ends up short and right. Duke takes over at its own 35.
FIRST QUARTER: Clemson 7 vs. Duke 0 - Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis appears to be suffering from an ankle injury, one that wasn't readily apparent on the field. But now Zack Asack lines up behind center, as Lewis gets treatment on the sidelines. Not surprisingly, the first play is a designed draw to Asack. On third-and-three, the Blue Devils line up in a double twins set looking to pass, but Asack holds onto it too long and is corralled for a loss of eight yards. Another Duke three-and-out, only made worse by a false start penalty on fourth down. Clemson looking at more great field position, but a great punt by Kevin Jones and disciplined coverage by the special teams unit leaves the Tigers at the 28-yard line.
FIRST QUARTER: Clemson 7 vs. Duke 0 - This is quickly becoming a battle of field position. Duke's drives have started within the 25 while Clemson has begun twice from beyond its own 35. After three straight handoffs to running back James Davis, the Tigers are already into Duke territory. On third-and-ten, Clemson calls a bubble screen that goes for about fifteen. The Tigers go for a fake reverse, off-tackle run play to C.J. Spiller for a 24-yard touchdown through the Blue Devil secondary. Six plays, 58 yards.
FIRST QUARTER: Duke 0 vs. Clemson 0 - Clemson won the toss and elected to receive. After a few positive plays downfield, the drive stalled after a big sack by Vince Oghobasse. The Blue Devils took over at around the 25, had some impressive plays of their own -- including two passes to star wideout Eron Riley -- but were then forced to punt after a Clemson sack pushed Duke into a long distance situation. On third-and-five, linebacker and game captain Vincent Rey broke up a pass intended for the Tigers' tight end that would have given them a first down. Duke will start its second drive from the 17-yard line. The Blue Devils go three-and-out and punt it to the Clemson 42.
PREGAME: Duke vs. Clemson - Great atmosphere here. More orange than I think I've ever seen in my life. The band and cheerleaders and dance team all came marching through the streets toward the stadium about 30 minutes before kickoff, with a police escort to lead the way. With three minutes left before kickoff, three buses pulled up by the main gate to the stadium. The student section on 'The Hill' part and make an alley for the players to come running down toward the stadium amidst a flurry of orange balloons. Very cool intro to the game. More on the atmosphere later.
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