GRADES: Tigers Rebound Nicely

CLEMSON - breaks down Clemson's 31-7 over Duke to keep the Tigers' bowl hopes alive for one more week.

This grade would be an "A" were it not for penalties on the offensive line and Cullen Harper holding on to the football slightly too long in the first half. The Tigers basically did whatever they wanted to Saturday, whether it was on the ground or through the air. C.J. Spiller's 100+ yards receiving left you begging for him to return for another season. Harper was accurate and composed most of the day and even Willy Korn led a first-half scoring drive. How about that? Overall it was a good day on offense, one of the best in a while for that matter.

Any game where you hold the opposition to less than 100 yards passing and less than a 100 yards rushing, it's hard not to be pleased with your performance. The Tigers also did a much better job getting to the quarterback, consistently putting Duke in long yardage situations by getting the sack. Brandon Maye appears to be coming on strong at linebacker and again, the pass rush was effective for the first time in what seems like years. The stats back up the domination as Duke was just 2-of-14 on third downs and was outgained offensively 461-to-158. Ouch.

Mark Buchholz missed a 52-yarder but rebounded to convert from 39 yards out with a strong left-to-right breeze blowing at the time. Other than that, there's not much to write about as the return game didn't produce anything noteworthy but wasn't bad either. Jacoby Ford still hasn't found his stride in the return game but appears to be getting closer by the week.

Overall a good game plan was put in place on offense, including using creative calls with fake screen passes that will have to be accounted for by the opposition in Clemson's last two games. Defensively, pressure was applied throughout the game by Clemson's front seven as Duke never truly challenged the Tigers on this windy November day. Also, credit Dabo Swinney for getting his team to rebound emotionally after a tough loss in Tallahassee last weekend - and that's not always an easy thing to do, especially given how this season has played out.

The offense was solid and the defense was dominant in an impressive 31-7 Homecoming victory. Now comes the tough part- a two game stretch to close the season including next week on the road at Virginia and the following week at home against archrival South Carolina. Clemson needs to win two games to reach a bowl game and now that goal becomes a little more realistic after an easy win over the hapless Blue Devils. Top Stories