BDN Clemson at Duke Preview

QB Sean Renfree is listed as probable against Clemson after a concussion last week. - BDN Photo

Clemson at Duke
7:00 PM ET
Saturday, November 3
Durham, North Carolina


Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network

Duke: 6-3 (3-2 ACC), lost at FSU, 48-7
Clemson: 7-1 (4-1 ACC), defeated WF 10/25, 42-13



PROBABLE: QB Sean Renfree (head)
DOUBTFUL: DE Kenny Anunike (lower body), RB Juwan Thompson (upper body)
OUT: CB Jared Boyd (leg), S Brandon Braxton (lower body), LB Kelby Brown (leg), TE Braxton Deaver (leg), S Anthony Young-Wiseman (leg)
OUT FOR SEASON: TE Jack Farrell (leg), WR Blair Holliday, DE Allen Jackson (shoulder), S Corbin McCarthy (shoulder), S Taylor Sowell (leg)


PROBABLE: DB Bashaud Breeland (abdominal strain), DB Garry Peters (back)
OUT FOR SEASON: DB Martin Jenkins (Hernia), QB Tony McNeal (ACL), LB Justin Parker (groin), DB Darius Robinson (ankle), DB Jerrodd Williams (broken leg)


After a setback against Florida State, Duke has to get back to playing winning football on Saturday. With three ACC wins already on the year, the Blue Devils have proven they can compete in the conference. On Saturday, they have a chance to prove they can compete with the elite in the conference. For Duke to have a chance to win, it starts with their defense, which will likely be without DE Kenny Anunike. The Tigers have the most skill position talent of any team the Blue Devils have faced this year, and it will be a huge test on an individual level. Ross Cockrell, Lee Butler, and Tony Foster have to find a way to contain Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. No team has found a way to stop this offense, so it will be a matter of keeping them in check. As crazy as it sounds, if the defense can hold Clemson to just 4 or 5 touchdowns, the Blue Devils will have a chance. Clemson's defense has given up its fair share of big plays, and with Sean Renfree probable to play on Saturday, there should be plenty of opportunities for the Blue Devil receivers downfield. Against this defense, Duke should easily be able to put up 4 or 5 touchdowns of their own. In particular, Duke will have to control time of possession and field position; a strong ground game and an error-free kicking game will be essential. For Duke to pull off the upset, they have to keep the score close enough to make a big play late in the 4th quarter to win the game.


Explosive plays have been the kryptonite for this Duke defense, and Clemson has the weapons to make big plays. Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, and Andre Ellington are all elite talent, and the Duke defense will have their hands full trying to keep them from breaking open big scoring plays. If Clemson can open up a big lead early, the pressure will be on Duke's offense to keep up. Clemson has to bring their "A" game and play with intensity for a full 60 minutes if they hope to win on Saturday, but they do have the superior athletes. The defense will look to be opportunistic, and hold Duke to field goals rather than touchdowns. A big lead for the Tigers will make the Duke offense one-dimensional, and lead to more possessions and points for Clemson.


The Blue Devils are undefeated at home, and are hungry to bounce back after a poor showing in Tallahassee. Despite the elite athletes on Clemson's offense, their defense is suspect, and Duke should be able to score points. Duke should have the advantage in the kicking game, and that will play a huge part in the Blue Devils' upset. When a top 10 team loses to an unranked opponent, it's called Clemsoning. Duke 34, Clemson 31