NOTEBOOK: Forget 2004

CLEMSON – Just how big was Clemson's win over Maryland following the guarantee of running back James Davis a week ago? Consider that after the game, Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden did something extremely uncommon for him.

Bowden stood before the team in the locker room and told Davis to never guarantee a victory again, which caused laughter to break out from everyone there.

Then Bowden handed Davis the game ball, a gesture which the coach rarely does.

The only other time Bowden has given a ball to a player was to Charlie Whitehurst after Clemson's 13-9 win over South Carolina in 2005, marking the fourth straight victory over the Gamecocks for the quarterback.

"I was very surprised," Davis said. "He'd never done that before. I was just real excited. I've never seen him do that. But I think with me guaranteeing that win and me standing behind it (he did it). … I've never seen him give a game ball to anybody."

IT'S NOT 2004: Clemson faces Duke this week and the last time the Tigers made the trip to Durham, it was a humiliating defeat. So much so, that both coordinators lost their jobs at the end of the season.

Until the Blue Devils beat Northwestern earlier this year, that had been the last win for them over a Division I team. It still remains the last win in the ACC for Duke.

"What I really like about our team, after the (Maryland) game in the locker room, everybody was already talking about it and what happened there (in 2004)," Davis said. "We've got a lot more talent than what we had than when we went down there before."

There are very few players on this year's team that actually played in the game or even made the trip to Durham in 2004.

Even so, Clemson receiver Aaron Kelly has some friends that play for Duke and they reminded him before the season that the Tigers were still their last win.

Asked Monday if he could imagine how hard his friends would give him the business should the Blue Devils win again, Kelly responded, "I'd give it to myself."

But with the Tigers chasing Boston College and Wake Forest in the Atlantic Division standings, they know there can't be even the slightest letup if they want to keep their dreams of playing for the ACC title a potential reality

"With all the upsets we've had this year around college football, you can't take anyone for granted," Kelly said. "We really need this win. We can't afford to lose another one."

But even win a win, Clemson still has to take care of business the rest of the year and hope for some help from other teams along the way.

"(Boston College) has still got some tough challenges coming along," Davis said. "It's tough for a team to go undefeated in the ACC. If we can get one team to help us out, I think that will be good, but I think the pressure is still on us. We've got to play them and Wake Forest."

REPLACING JACOBY: Look for receiver Tyler Grisham to play more in the slot in place of Jacoby Ford, who is gone for the season after breaking an ankle Saturday. But Grisham said how much he plays there will likely depend on whether or not Rendrick Taylor can come back from his hamstring injury and play.

But Grisham said the slot position will likely be played by committee, including tailback C.J. Spiller.

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