Devils Dropped By Clemson, 49-20

CLEMSON, S.C. – After a season of seeming hibernation, the Blue Devil offense finally came alive on Saturday against the Clemson Tigers. Unfortunately for head coach Ted Roof, it was his usually reliable defense that replaced their offensive counterparts in hibernation mode as the Tigers overcame 407 yards of total offense, 328 from freshman quarterback Zack Asack, to dismiss Duke 49-20 in Death Valley.

In relief of starter Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson signal caller Will Proctor completed 13-of-21 pass attempts for 201 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help the Tigers improve to 5-4 overall, and 3-4 in the league in front of a packed house in Death Valley.

Meanwhile the Blue Devils squandered a career effort from true freshman Zack Asack to fall to 1-9 overall and 0-7 in ACC play. Asack completed 26-of-43 attempts for 328 yards and one touchdown, the second most yard for a true freshman in Duke history behind only Ben Bennett's total of 469 yards versus Wake Forest on November 8, 1980.

No one was happier to see the new look passing attack than junior tight end Ben Patrick, who had been under-utilized for much of the season. Patrick hauled in a career best 10 Asack passes for 100 yards, it was the first time in nearly four seasons that a Duke tight end posted 10 or more catches for 100 or more yards.

And Patrick wasn't the only one glad to see the ball in the air. Another true freshman, Eron Riley, brought in four catches for an amazing 130 yards and touchdown, setting career bests in both categories. Like his classmate, Asack, Riley's performance is the second best all time performance for a true freshman at his position – trailing only Walter Jones' 139-yard performance against The Citadel in 1988.

Despite the offensive outburst, the Blue Devils once again came away on the short end of the scoreboard as Clemson racked up 450 yards and a whopping 49 points on the Blue Devil defense. And it didn't' take long as the Tigers drove to the one yard line just six minutes into the game before Proctor slipped into the endzone to make it 7-0.

The Tigers would double their lead with under a minute remaining in the opening period as James Davis broke through the Duke defense for an 18-yard scamper. It was only his second run of the drive, but both were tremendous efforts as Davis accounted for 38 yards on just two touches on the drive.

Undeterred by the Tigers' early scores, Duke moved the ball down the field well, driving 62 yards in just 10 plays before stalling out and settling for a 32-yard field goal from true freshman Joe Surgan. Unfortunately Clemson would retaliate with an eight play, 64-yard march that ended with Reggie Merriweather bursting through for an 18 yard score to push the lead to 21-3.

It seemed as though the Devils were on the way to cutting the lead further, but after marching down the field and setting up Surgan for a 43-yard field goal attempt, the Tigers blocked the Blue Devils' kick with 32 seconds remaining.

Once again the defense couldn't hold Clemson out of the endzone as Proctor connected with Chansi Stuckey on an 11-yard strike to turn a potential 21-6 deficit into a 28-3 margin at the half way mark.

Another positive was the avoidance of another second half lull as Duke came out of the locker room and promptly drove 77-yards in 15 players before sophomore Justin Boyle dove into the endzone for his team leading eight score of the season to make it 28-10.

With the offense clicking, the defense continued to flounder as Proctor hit Stuckey on a 40-yard strike to mush the lead to 35-10. However Duke would come back on the next series with a big play of their own as Asack used a play action pass to find Eron Riley on a 66-yard scoring pass to cut the lead back to 18.

Clemson would add another pair of touchdowns from Merriweather, one an eight yard run with just under 10 minutes remaining; the other a 12 yard scamper with 40 seconds left on the clock with the outcome already decided.

Previous to the final Merriweather score, Duke added a career long 49 yard field goal from Surgan to make it 42-20.

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