3 Keys to Victory

The Tigers are clearly the better football team, but stranger things have happened this season.

ESTABLISH AN EARLY LEAD: One of many things the Tigers did not do in their last trip to Durham in 2004 was put away the Blue Devils by jumping out to a substantial lead. The Tigers weren't flat after beating the Miami Hurricanes the week before, but they lost emotion as the game wore one because Duke was always within striking distance. Clemson must prove it is the better team by getting out to an early lead Saturday. That way there is no loss of emotion and no feeling of "here we go again."

NO TURNOVERS: There's no question Clemson is the more talented team, but the Tigers can ill-afford to turn the ball over in bunches and expect to win, even against Duke. Need proof? In 2004, Clemson turned the ball over four times in a 16-13 loss at Wallace-Wade Stadium. The key in any upset usually is turnovers. Simply put, no turnovers for the Tigers on Saturday equals a comfortable Clemson victory. While turnovers are nearly impossible to predict, Cullen Harper has done a great job with his decision making and should be fine against a Duke defense that ranks nearly last in every statistical category in the ACC.

MORE BABY STEPS: With Wake Forest, Boston College and South Carolina looming in the last three games, the Tigers could stand to continue to show improvement against the Blue Devils- in particular with the running game and the offensive line. The move of Thomas Austin to center and Barry Humphries to guard seems to be paving the way for more rushing yards and a more balanced offense. The Tigers need to build on what they've accomplished the last two weeks to carry momentum over to next week's game against the Demon Deacons by putting up big numbers against Duke.

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