Tigers Set to Battle Duke

Overcoming Incredible Odds
When Clemson defeated Miami (FL) in the Orange Bowl in November 6, the Tigers overcame some Miami trends that dated back 20 years. Heading into the game, here is a list of some of Miami's records in certain situations that Clemson overcame to gain the 24-17 overcome triumph on Saturday evening:

* Miami was 174-2 when leading after three quarters since 1985. The Tigers trailed 17-10 entering the fourth quarter before gaining the win in overtime.

* Miami was 174-15 when scoring first since 1983. Miami scored first in this game, going 68 yards in five plays on its first possession.

* Larry Coker was 41-4 for his career as the head coach at Miami entering this game. That included a 22-3 record at night.

* Miami had won 18 consecutive night games in the Orange Bowl dating to a 27-20 overtime loss to Virginia Tech in 1998.

* Miami had been 103-8 against unranked opponents since 1990.

* Miami had been 52-5 in the 21st century, the best record in college football.

* Clemson had lost 10 straight games in the state of Florida dating to a victory over Illinois in the 1991 Hall of Fame Bowl (end of 1990 season).

Clemson overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to gain victory.

The Fake Field Goal
Coaches named Bowden are famous for trick plays and that reputation was enhanced on November 6, 2004 in the Orange Bowl when Clemson defeated 10th ranked (USA Today poll) Miami (FL),24-17 in overtime.

With Clemson trailing 17-10 early in the fourth quarter, Clemson had the ball on the Miami 9, fourth and two. After a timeout, Bowden sent out his field goal team. But instead of Jad Dean kicking a 26-yard field goal, Bowden called a fake field goal, a play he has held in reserve for six years.

The play was set up with a six-yard run by Reggie Merriweather to the Miami (FL) nine-yard-line. "It told Mike O'Cain to call a play that would not get the first down, but would end up at the left hashmark. It was probably the only time I asked for a play that wouldn't get a first down."

With the attempt coming from the left hashmark, holder Cole Chason took the snap from Geoff Rigsby, and flipped the ball over his head to a running Dean, who caught the ball in stride. Dean then followed a block from Stephen Jackson and ran to the three yard-line, getting the first down. The Tigers then scored on two-yard run by Reggie Merriweather.

Bowden got the play from assistant head coach Brad Scott. The Tigers have practiced that play often over the last six years, but never used it until the Miami game. In Bowden Bowl I in 1999, with the score Florida State 17, Clemson 14, the Tigers drove to the Florida State 26 with under a minute left and had a fourth down and three. But, the ball was on the right hashmark. Had the ball been on the left hashmark, Bowden would have used the play against his father.

Dean's run was the first rush for a Clemson kicker since Nelson Welch had a five-yard run on a fake field goal against Florida State in 1992.

Clemson vs. Duke Series
Clemson holds a 32-15-1 lead in the series with Duke, including a 17-4-1 lead in games played in Death Valley. But, the Tigers have just a 13-11 lead in games at Duke. Clemson has won just four of its last seven at Duke and three of the four wins have been by seven points or less.

Clemson's only resounding win at Duke since 1981 was a 52-22 win in 2000. Six of the last seven meetings between Clemson and Duke in Durham have been decided by seven points or less.

Overall, Clemson has won five in a row and 12 of the last 14 in the series dating to a 21-17 loss at Duke in 1989, Danny Ford's last year as Clemson head coach. Steve Spurrier was the coach of the Blue Devils for that game. Clemson entered that 1989 game with a 4-0 record, a #7 AP ranking and had recently won at Florida State.

Duke has not won at Clemson since a 34-17 victory over a Ford coached Clemson team in 1980. Clemson has won 12 in a row over the Blue Devils in Death Valley, including last year's 40-7 victory.

There have been many noteworthy performances in the Clemson vs. Duke series:

·1957: In just the fourth meeting between the two teams, an 11th ranked Duke team defeats a 14th ranked Clemson team 7-6 in Durham. It is the fourth straight win to open the series for the Blue Devils.

·1965: Clemson kicks a field goal to defeat Duke, 3-2, the only 3-2 score in Clemson football history, and tying a school record for the fewest points in a Clemson victory.

·1971: Clemson upsets a 14th ranked Duke tam in Norfolk, VA by a 3-0 score. Eddie Seigler booted a 39-yard field goal for the Tigers.

·1976: Vince Fusco sets and ACC record with six field goals, including one from 57 yards on the last play of the game that hit the goal post and bounced over in an 18-18 Homecoming tie at Death Valley.

·1980: Duke upsets a 4-1 Clemson team in Death Valley 34-17 behind Dennis Tabron's three interceptions and Clemson opponent record 128 return yards. That was Duke's last win in Death Valley.

·1981:Clemson gained over 300 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in a dominant 38-10 victory on the way to the National Championship.

·1983:Both teams gained over 500 yards total offense, but the Tigers held on with a 38-31 victory. Tommy Bowden was Duke's quarterback coach in this game.

·1988: Clemson defeats a 22nd ranked and 5-0 Duke team by a 49-17 margin. It is the last time both teams were ranked in the top 25 entering the game.

·1989: Duke upset a 4-0 and seventh ranked Clemson team 21-17 in Durham. Clemson had upset Florida State in Tallahassee earlier in the season. Duke went on to win seven straight games and the ACC Championship.

·1995: Raymond Priester set Clemson single game rushing record with 263 yards in 34-17 victory. Brian Dawkins had three interceptions in one quarter for the Tigers.

·1997: Clemson wins first overtime game in ACC history with 29-20 victory over Duke at Clemson. Rahim Abdullah returned interception 63 yards for a touchdown.

·2001: Woody Dantzler became first 2000/1000 quarterback in NCAA history in 59-31 Clemson win.

·2002: Charlie Whitehurst threw for school record 420 yards on 34 completions and Aaron Hunt kicked the game winning field goal with eight seconds left in 34-31 Clemson win.

Clemson Veterans versus Duke
Gaines Adams (DE) -- Had four tackles including two tackles for loss in 2003.

Curtis Baham (WR) -- Caught two passes for 23 yards and his first career touchdown last season.

Nathan Bennett (OG) -- Had an 82 percent film grade and six knockdown blocks last season.

Tremaine Billie (WHIP) -- Had two tackles in 14 snaps a year ago.

Kyle Browning (TB) -- Ran three times for 21 yards in 2003.

Cole Chason (P) -- Punted two times for a 37.5 yard average with both punts being downed inside the 20-yard line last season.

Duane Coleman (TB) -- Carried seven times for 37 yards and caught three passes for 28 yards in last year's 40-7 Tiger win.

Eric Coleman (DT) -- Had a sack in last year's game. Has six total tackles against the Blue Devils in three career games.

Michael Collins (WR) -- Caught one pass for 13 yards last season.

Airese Currie (WR) -- Missed last year's game due to injury. Caught one pass for 47 yards and a touchdown at Duke in 2002.

David Dunham (LB) -- Made four tackles in only six snaps last season.

Maurice Fountain (DE) -- Had three tackles and a quarterback pressure last year.

Jamaal Fudge (ROV) - Had six total tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception, and two pass break ups in 2003.

Kelvin Grant (WR) -- Caught four passes for 17 yards in last year's game.

LeRoy Hill (LB) -- Made six tackles last season. Had 11 stops against the Blue Devils including one tackle for loss as a freshman in 2001.

Tye Hill (CB) -- Had three tackles last season. Made one special teams tackle in 2002.

Yusef Kelly (RB) -- Carried six times for 19 yards in 2002. Ran for 84 yards on 12 carries at Duke in 2000.

Justin Miller (CB) -- Had four tackles, an interception, and a pass break up last year. Had four tackles and an interception in 2002.

Chip Myrick (OG) -- Graded 86 percent with four knockdown blocks in last year's game.

Roosevelt Nelson (LB) -- Made three tackles in only seven snaps a year ago.

Travis Pugh (FS) -- Had six tackles last season. Had one tackle and one pass break up in 2002. Made three stops in 15 snaps in 2001.

Eric Sampson (WHIP) -- Made four tackles in 2003. Had a career high 15 stops against the Blue Devils in 2002.

Tommy Sharpe (C ) -- Graded 90 percent in the game last season.

Chansi Stuckey (WR) -- Completed one pass for 13 yards and rushed three times for 12 yards and a touchdown last season. Also caught two passes for 10 yards a year ago.

Trey Tate (DT) -- Had three tackles in only 15 snaps last season.

Anthony Waters (LB) -- Tied his career high in tackles with six in last year's game.

Charlie Whitehurst (QB) -- Is 2-0 as a starter against the Blue Devils completing 61 of 92 passes in those two games for 751 yards. Set the Clemson single game passing record by throwing for 420 yards in 2002. Has seven touchdown passes in two games and an efficiency rating of 155.6.

Roof and Bowden Worked on Same Staff
Duke coach Ted Roof began his coaching career in 1987 as a graduate assistant at Alabama under Bill Curry. One of the assistant coaches on that Alabama staff was Tommy Bowden. They were on the same staff under Curry in 1987 and 1988. Bowden remained another year before moving on to Kentucky for the 1990 season as offensive coordinator.

Roof has also served as an assistant coach at Massachusetts, Western Carolina and his alma mater, Georgia Tech. During his time with the Yellow Jackets he was a nominee for the Frank Broyles Award, which is presented to the top assistant coach in the nation.

A four-year letter winner with the Yellow Jackets as a player, Roof was a starter for the 1983-84-85 seasons. He was one of the leaders of Georgia Tech's "Black Watch Defense" of 1985, helping Bill Curry's Tech team to a 9-2-1 season that included a bowl victory over Michigan State. A first-team All-ACC player, he still ranks in the top 10 in Georgia Tech history with 417 career tackles. A member of the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame, Roof was the top tackler for Georgia Tech in its 14-3 win at Clemson in 1985.

Whitehurst Returns to Scene of Record Setting Day
Charlie Whitehurst will return to the scene of his greatest passing performance when the Tigers meet Duke on Saturday. Two years ago, in his first college start, Whitehurst completed 34 of 52 passes for 420 yards and four touchdowns. He established Clemson single game records for completions and passing yards and his four touchdown passes tied a Clemson record. He also set a Clemson record for total offensive plays in that game with 65. He led Clemson to a thrilling 34-31 victory that day in Durham.

For his career, Whitehurst is 2-0 as a starter against the Blue Devils. He completed 27-40 for 331 yards and three scores last year against the Blue Devils in a 40-7 Clemson win. He is now 61-92 for 751 yards and seven touchdowns against Duke in the two games. He has 748 yards of total offense in the two games versus Duke. His career completion percentage of 66.3 percent against Duke is his best when considering his stats against all other ACC teams.

Clemson vs. Duke, 2003 Review
Clemson 40, Duke 7
Clemson followed up one of the most emotional wins in school history with a 40-7 victory over Duke in Memorial Stadium. Duke was coached by Ted Roof, who had taken over for Carl Franks in October. The Tigers outgained the Blue Devils 486-174 in total yardage. Clemson's secondary allowed just 57 passing yards the entire game. Duke averaged just 3.2 yards per play as well.

Clemson scored 14 points in the opening quarter and never looked back. Eric Coleman got a quarterback sack to end an early Duke threat. From there, Charlie Whitehurst and the Clemson offense took over. After spreading the ball around the field, Whitehurst found Hamilton across the middle. He made just one move, and was in the endzone for a 31-yard touchdown catch.

On the ensuing kickoff, fullback Steven Jackson stripped Blue Devil receiver Senterrio Landrum of the ball. Buddy Williams pounced on the loose football and gave Clemson possession at the Blue Devil 25-yard line. On the very next play, Whitehurst again hooked up with Hamilton. After faking a handoff up the middle, Whitehurst ran to his left in an option look. Hamilton, who lined up in the slot, simply stepped back and waited on Whitehurst. He pitched the ball to Hamilton, who was behind the line of scrimmage, and he ran untouched for a 25-yard touchdown. His touchdowns were just 14 seconds apart, the fastest back-to-back touchdowns by the same Tiger in history.

On Clemson's second possession of the second quarter, Aaron Hunt came on to drill a 44-yard field goal. Hunt had missed a 27-yarder earlier to end his streak of 11 consecutive field goals made.

The Tigers got the ball back quickly, and struck again. This time, Whitehurst again hooked up with favorite target Hamilton for a 40-yard gain. Hamilton cradled the ball in a miraculous catch down the left sideline. That set up Whitehurst on a four-yard touchdown strike to Curtis Baham in the back of the endzone. For Baham, it was his first career touchdown and it gave Clemson a 24-0 lead at halftime.

Clemson received the ball to start the second half, and the offense continued to shine. Whitehurst directed a 13-play, 77-yard drive that ended with Hunt's second field goal. His 20-yarder put Clemson ahead 27-0.

Following a Duke punt, the Tigers put the game away. Justin Miller took the punt at his own 37, made one slight move to the left and raced 63 yards for his first career punt return for touchdown. It was his second returned touchdown in just two years as a Tiger. He joined Bobby Gage as the only Tigers with a kickoff return and punt return for a score.

Duke got on the board in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter after Kelvin Grant fumbled in Tiger territory, giving the ball to the Blue Devils. Chris Dargan ran up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown, cutting the score to 34-7.

Clemson tacked on a final touchdown with Chansi Stuckey playing quarterback. Stuckey had caught two passes at wide receiver earlier in the contest. He directed a 60-yard scoring drive that ended in his four-yard draw for a touchdown. Whitehurst became the first Clemson quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season after his 331-yard performance in this game. It marked the fourth time this season the sophomore threw for over 300 yards in a game.

Hamilton set the single-season record for touchdown receptions after he caught two against Duke. That gave him nine for the year, eclipsing the previous mark shared by Perry Tuttle (1981), Terrance Roulhac (1984), and Tony Horne (1997).

Defensively, several Tigers contributed to the cause. Donnell Washington had a team-high eight tackles, including two for loss and a sack. Jamaal Fudge was all over the field, as he had a tackle for loss, two pass breakups, and an interception. Miller also had his second interception of the season, as well as a pass deflection.

Merriweather Records Career High
Sophomore running back Reggie Merriweather picked a good time to record his career high in terms of rushing the football. The native of North Augusta, SC had 20 carries for 114 yards and three touchdowns in Clemson's win over Miami (FL). His previous career high was 90 yards rushing against Georgia Tech in the second game of the year. It was the first 100-yard rushing game by a Clemson player in 2004.

Merriweather also had four catches for 24 yards, giving him 138 all-purpose yards on the day, also a career high. Merriweather's performance was the most rushing yards by a Clemson running back since Chad Jasmin had 130 yards in 15 carries against Tennessee in the 2004 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Jasmin was also the last Tiger to have at least three touchdowns in a game, as he had four at South Carolina in the final regular season game of the 2003 season.

Merriweather is Clemson's top rusher this year with 469 yards and seven touchdowns. He leads the Tigers in scoring and in touchdowns, and his 5.2 yards per rushing attempt is second to Kyle Browning's 7.5 average. Merriweather has 16 of Clemson's 32 runs of 10 yards or more this year and five of the nine rushes of at least 20 yards. He has been Clemson's top rusher in five of the nine games so far, including each of the last four games. Since no playing against Virginia, Merriweather has gained 307 yards on the ground in four games, all Tiger victories.

Tigers Have 100-Yard Rusher and Receiver in Same Game
Clemson had a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver in its victory over Miami (FL), the first the Tigers had done that this year and just the second over the last three years. Reggie Merriweather had 20-114 on the ground, and Airese Currie had 7-128 in terms of receiving. Having the diversity in the offense to have a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game usually translates to a Clemson victory.

Including the Miami game of November 6, Clemson has had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game 29 times and the Tigers are 25-3-1 in those contests, including 14 wins in a row. Clemson last lost a game in which it had a 100-yard rusher and receiver in 1985, a 21-20 loss at North Carolina.

From 1-4 to 5-4
Clemson started the season with a 1-4 record, but has now won four in a row to reach 5-4, just one win away from being bowl eligible. No team in ACC history has started 1-4, then made it to a bowl game. That does not mean all 1-4 ACC teams have failed to end the season with a winning record. Clemson's 1963 team started 0-4-1, then won its last five games to finish with a 5-4-1 record. Of course, in those days there were far fewer bowl games.

Clemson started 1-3 in 1985 and finished 6-5 and went to the Independence Bowl. Twice Clemson has been 2-3 after five games and advanced to a bowl, that 1985 season and in 1999, Tommy Bowden's first season.

Clemson is one of 20 Division I teams to have an active winning streak of at least four games. Virginia Tech is the only other ACC team on that list as the Hokies have won five in a row. Clemson, North Texas, and Akron are the comeback teams of the year at the present time. North Texas started out the year 0-4, but they have now won five straight. Akron also started 1-4 and is now 5-4. Boise State has the longest winning streak in the nation at 19 in a row, while Southern Cal is next with 18 in a row.

Tigers Have Three Top 10 Wins in last 13 Games
Clemson gained its third win over a top 10 team in a 13-game period when it defeated Miami (FL) on November 6 in the Orange Bowl. Clemson defeated third ranked Florida State last in the 10th game of the 2003 season, the highest ranked win in Clemson history. Then, in the 13th and final game of 2003, the Tigers defeated a sixth ranked Tennessee team in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

This is the second time in history Clemson has had three wins over top 10 teams in a 13-game period. The only other time it happened was in 1981, Clemson's national championship season, when the Tigers defeated a fourth ranked Georgia team, an eighth ranked North Carolina team, and a fourth ranked Nebraska team. The win over Nebraska took place in the Orange Bowl, so both occurrences, the third top 10 win of the stretch took place in the Orange Bowl.

Clemson now has 13 top 10 wins in its history and four of the 13 have come since Tommy Bowden became the Tigers head coach. In addition to the three top 10 wins listed above, Clemson also defeated a ninth ranked Georgia Tech team in Atlanta in 2001. Clemson now has five top 10 wins on an opponent's home field in its history and two have come under Bowden.

Clemson has 54 wins over Associated Press top 25 teams over the years and 17 of them have taken place on an opponent's home field. The highest ranked team Clemson has beaten on its home field is a victory over an eighth-ranked North Carolina team in Chapel Hill in 1981, Clemson's national championship season. The win at ninth ranked Georgia Tech in 2001 is the second highest ranked team Clemson has beaten on the road and the Miami win on November 6th ranks as the third highest.

Defense Key to Four-Game Winning Streak
Clemson has won four consecutive games after losing four consecutive games. It is the first time in history Clemson has had a four-game losing streak and a four-game winning streak in the same season in history. The Tigers had a five-game streak without a win (3 losses, a tie and a loss) followed by a five-game winning streak in 1963.

The key to the comeback from a statistical standpoint has been the Tiger defense. As the chart below shows, Clemson allowed 31.2 points per game for the first five games of the year, but has allowed just 12.5 points a game over the last four games. In terms of total defense, Clemson allowed 421.8 yards per game over the first five games, but just 265 a game over the last four. The biggest improvement has been rushing defense, which was 223 yards a game over the first five games, to 72.5 over the last four.

Forcing turnovers has also been a key. Clemson forced just three turnovers, last in the nation, over the first five games, but has forced 10 over the four game winning streak. The Tiger defense has also improved in terms of third down defense. Clemson allowed 46.6 percent third-down conversions over the first five games, but has allowed just 32.3 percent (21-65) over the last four games.

What might be the most impressive statistic is yards per play allowed. Clemson allowed 5.2 yards per play over the first five games of the season, but just 3.62 over the last four games. How good is 3.62 yards per play allowed? Clemson's 1990 defense that featured eight starters who went on to the NFL, allowed 3.52 yards per play over the course of that season.

Clemson 5-0 under Bowden vs. Duke
Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden coached at Duke from 1983-86. He served as the Blue Devils quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator during that time period. He coached Duke quarterback Ben Bennett, the school's career leader in total offense, his senior year. Clemson defeated Duke 38-31 in Durham in 1983, Bennett's senior year, but the Blue Devils gained over 500 yards of total offense.

Clemson is 5-0 against Duke with Tommy Bowden as head coach. Bowden was 0-4 against Clemson as offensive coordinator at Duke during the 1980s. Clemson has outscored Duke 243-98 in the five games Bowden has been head coach. Clemson scored at least 50 points in each of the first three meetings, the only time in history Clemson has scored at least 50 points against the same ACC team three consecutive years.

Clemson did go for over 50 in five straight seasons against Presbyterian from 1948-52. Clemson won last year's game 40-7 in Clemson. Over the last five years under Bowden, Clemson has averaged 25.8 first downs, 217 yards rushing, 315 yards passing, 532 yards of total offense and 48.6 points per game against the Blue Devils.

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