Clemson improves to 7-4 overall, and 5-3 in the ACC with the win. The Tigers will next face the South Carolina Gamecocks, who are losers of 3 straight games.
Charlie Whitehurst completed 27-of-40 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns Saturday afternoon to lead the Clemson Tigers to a 40-7 ACC victory over the Duke Blue Devils.
Derrick Hamilton led the way for the Tigers receiving corps, bringing in 6 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
"I was curious how we would respond after a big win," said Tommy Bowden. "Would we be drained? Would we be emotionally ready to play? I thought the players did a great job. The senior leadership was great today."
The Tigers got on the board midway through the first quarter when Whitehurst hooked up with Hamilton for a 31-yard touchdown to give Clemson an early 7-0 lead.
On the Blue Devils' first play of their next possession, Justin Miller stepped in front of a Mike Schneider pass and gave the Tigers good field position deep in Duke territory with his 2nd interception of the season.
It would take only one play for the Tigers to capitalize, this time it came from Derrick Hamilton again, who scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Whitehurst.
Following an Aaron Hunt 44-yard field goal with just over 10 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter, the route was on.
Whitehurst would hook up with Curtis Baham in the back of the endzone on 3rd-and-goal from the four yard line to give Clemson a comfortable 24-0 lead heading into halftime.
"Duke is a tough team," Whitehurst said in the locker room after the game. "We took a couple of shots from them early on, but fortunately we played well and did what we had to do to win the game."
The second half saw the Clemson defense continue to dominate the contest. The leading rusher in the ACC in Chris Douglas would finish with just 62 yards on 16 carries and a combination of Duke quarterbacks only managed to complete 7-of-15 passes to go along with 2 interceptions.
The Blue Devils avoided the shutout after a Kelvin Grant fumble midway through the 3rd quarter, deep in Clemson territory. Running back Cedric Dargan rumbled into the endzone from 25-yards out to give Duke their only score of the afternoon.
The Tigers would add a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown by Justin Miller and a 4-yard touchdown run by back up quarterback Chansi Stuckey to put the icing on the cake in a 40-7 romp.
"This is a big win for our kids," offensive coordinator Brad Scott said after the game. "You only get so high emotionally a certain amount of times a year, and we knew coming in it wouldn't quite be like Florida State, but we got the job done. And of course, there's now just one game left, and there won't be any problem getting up for those guys."
Clemson will wrap up the 2003 regular season next Saturday against the South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina will be riding a three game losing streak, highlighted by a 2-point loss to the Florida Gators earlier Saturday afternoon.
Clemson Destroys Duke; South Carolina Next
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