A Happy Homecoming

CLEMSON – For the first time in 38 games, there was a new starting quarterback for the Clemson Tigers. And had it not been for the difference in the jersey number, fans would have been hard-pressed to notice the change.

* Quarterback Controversy?
* Notebook: ESPN for Clemson/Carolina?
* Will Proctor Postgame Comments
* Bowden Postgame Press Conference
* Charlie Whitehurst Postgame Comments
* Box: Clemson 49 Duke 20

Backup quarterback Will Procter made his first career startm over an injured Charlie Whitehurst, and performed admirably in Clemson's 49-20 victory over Duke on a homecoming Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The red-shirt junior finished the day 13-of-21 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He also earned the first rushing touchdown of his career. All in all, Proctors first start was a resounding success.

"I think it takes a unique guy to prepare to be the starter every week, but then see another guy roll out there every Saturday," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said. "Will Proctor has been very patient and I think that patience showed today. He looked like a smooth operator out there."

Ironically enough, it was against these same Blue Devils four years ago that Whitehurst got the first start of his career. Proctor said he wasn't the least bit nervous in getting his first start.

"I kind of got all those nerves out of the way against (Texas) A&M," said Proctor, who played the final three offensive series in a tight game against the Aggies. "It was more so anxiety. I was ready to get the game started."

With the help of Proctor, the Tigers improve to 5-4 overall and 3-4 in the ACC, while Duke drops to 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the ACC.

The Clemson offense ran as smooth as it has all season. And while Proctor may have been a contributing factor, the Duke defense also played a key role.

The Tigers compiled 450 yards of total offense, 216 of which came threw the air, while 234 came via the run. Tailbacks Reggie Merriweather and James Davis ran for 104 and 85 yards respectively.

Merriweather finished with three touchdowns, while Davis added another. All told, Clemson had five rushing touchdowns.

"Anytime you get the type of rushing output we got today, it's going to help your offense," Bowden said. "(Offensive coordinator) Rob Spence has done a good job with our running game and we have some new blocking schemes this year. It's not just the offensive line that helps our running game, it's the tight ends and fullbacks."

The Tigers and Proctor wasted little time scoring early and often. By the end of the first quarter, Clemson held a 14-0 lead. By halftime, the Tigers were ahead 28-3.

However, the second half saw the Clemson defense have its problems. While the outcome was never in doubt, there were still some grumblings from the fans in relation to the success of the Blue Devils passing game.

Duke freshman quarterback Zack Asack garnered career highs in completions and yardage by finishing the day 26-of-43 for 328 yards, a touchdown and an interception on the last play of the game.

Nearly all of Asack's success came against the regular defensive players. Clemson cornerback Tye Hill said he felt he and the rest of the defense took it easy after getting the big lead.

Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said if that is the case, then there will be plenty of things to take care of during this next week in preparation of Florida State.

"That's too bad," Koenning said in reference to Hill's remarks. "That's got to change. Ask Tye how much of his tail end he's got left, because his coach got after him pretty good. I even had a lady hollering at me in the stands because I guess I was hollering at my players on the sideline. But I wasn't pleased with the way they were playing."

Bowden even admitted the defensive play was a concern, especially with Duke 93 yards of passing per game.

"We've got a lot of work to do," he said.

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