Blue Devils Shock Clemson, 16-13

Last year Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden ran up the score in Death Valley as the Blue Devils suffered a 40-7 set back in Death Valley. This year the Tigers came in expecting another romp, but were sent home with their tails between their legs as Duke notched its first conference victory of the season with a 16-13 upset win of the once bowl bound Tigers.

Senior Matt Brooks' connected on a 53-yard field goal as time expired to life the Blue Devils to a stunning victory over Clemson, 16-13 on Saturday afternoon in Wallace Wade stadium.

It was a far cry from how the game seemed destined to end as Duke score 10 points in the final two minutes of regulation to snap Clemson's four game winning streak.

Trailing 16-9, Duke took seven plays to drive 54 yards before quarterback Mike Schneider found freshman Ronnie Drummer for a four yard touchdown strike to tie the game at 16, with 1:21 remaining on the clock.

During that final drive Schneider was at his best, completing 6-of-7 passes before finding Drummer coming out of the backfield on the left side. The freshman took the pass and cut once before diving into the end-zone to tie the score.

Clemson would have a chance to move in for the victory, but Deonto McCormick intercepted a Charlie Whitehurst pass at midfield and return it to the Clemson 42 to give the Devils a chance to pull off the upset.

"Deonto McCormick is a kid that has played a lot and started some games at wide receiver, and is very unselfish," said Roof. "He started at corner and played every snap at corner today. He picked a pretty good time to make an interception. I thought he played well today."

The new position didn't seem to bother McCormick, who said he enjoyed the opportunity to compete and make a difference for the Blue Devils.

"He [Charlie Whitehurst] threw it right there. I knew it was going to be either a pass breakup or interception," said McCormick. "I am really glad I had the opportunity to help the team win."

"It feels great to get the win. A thanks goes to all the coaches. We prepared very hard. Both the players and coaches put a lot of time in and it paid off in the end."

Duke would drive to the Clemson 36 yard line in four plays before setting up Brooks' kick, which sailed through the uprights, sending the Duke players and fans steaming onto the playing surface in celebration while several Clemson fans sat in stunned silence.

For Brooks it was a time of redemption as he had missed a potential game winning kick earlier in the year against Connecticut in the second game of the season.

"Coach Roof has us practice kicking all the time," said Brooks. "He backs me up to 52 at least twice a week. It was just another kick. A good snap, a good hold and I hit the ball perfectly. I got lucky. I knew with the wind at my back I could back up a little more. There was a pretty strong breeze all day. With the wind at my back I felt comfortable at my normal range. It has been a long year and I am glad I had another chance to do it [win the game]. It is amazing as it is the longest kicked I have ever hit."

Schneider finished the game 20 of 31 for 213 yards, while Brooks also kicked field goals of 21 and 27 yards.

Whitehurst, Clemson's preseason All American candidate, suffered a rough outing, completing just 12-of-26 passes for 117 yards and two interceptions.

The victory was the first for Duke over the Tigers since the 1997 season.

The Tigers' bowl hopes rest on next week's game with archrival South Carolina. A win gives Clemson the six victories required to qualify.

Duke finishes the 2004 season with a home game vs. North Carolina on Nov. 20 at Wallace Wade Stadium. Kickoff time has yet to be determined, but it will be either noon or 1:00 PM, depending on television.


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