Scouting Duke: how the Tigers win...

It's another ACC Tobacco Road business trip for Clemson

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins joins teammates in a pregame huddle before kickoff at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins joins teammates in a pregame huddle before kickoff at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C.

How the Tigers win...

1. Shrug off the hoopla and get to work: Clemson coming to Durham for a nationally-televised night game is a big deal. The Blue Devils were honored a week ago as national team of the week by the Football Writers Association, and their 6-2 record after eight games was one their best since the ACC was founded in 1953. The Duke ticket office is already accepting orders for the Blue Devils' first bowl game in 18 years - whenever and wherever. Playing in what promises to be a highly-energized Wallace Wade Stadium could prove to be a relative advantage for the Tigers, who often in the past have had to generate their own energy when they play in Durham. None of that will matter if the Tigers settle in, take care of business and exert their overall talent, depth and speed advantage over the Blue Devils.

2. Don't let up: The Blue Devils are explosive, resilient, determined and well-coached - not the kind of team that's going to roll over if they get down. Especially not with quarterback Sean Renfree at the controls. Renfree has engineered two fourth-quarter winning drives this season, and has done so on four occasions during his career. His status for next week's game at currently uncertain. He was knocked from the Florida State game on Saturday with an unspecified head injury. With or without Renfree, Duke has an offense designed to play catch-up in a hurry.

3. Don't get down: The Tigers, too, have the skill and tools to score points quickly; but playing on the road in front of a Cameron Indoor-type crowd, Clemson doesn't need to feed the Blue Devils' fire by falling behind early. Coach David Cutcliffe can switch gears if he needs to. Duke is 17-2 under Cutcliffe when leading after three quarters.

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