Nov. 15, 2003
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By JEFFREY COLLINSAssociated Press Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. – Charlie Whitehurst was 27-for-40 for 331 yards and Derrick Hamilton had six catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns in Clemson’s 40-7 victory over Duke on Saturday.
The Tigers (7-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) held the Blue Devils to 174 yards, and held the ACC’s leading rusher, Chris Douglas, to just 62 yards. Douglas had run for at least 100 yards in his last three games.
The win means the Tigers can still finish second in the ACC with some help and can’t finish worst than third. The Blue Devils (3-8, 1-6) will need to beat North Carolina next weekend to avoid finishing last for the fourth straight season.
Whitehurst, who threw for three touchdowns, picked the Duke defense apart with short passes and the Blue Devils compounded their problems with an inability to tackle. The final score could have been uglier, but Whitehurst had two passes picked off in the end zone.
Death Valley fans rushed on to the field after this one like they always do following Clemson wins, but the goal posts stayed up, unlike what happened after last week’s 26-10 upset of then-No. 3 Florida State
Chad Jasmin led the Tigers with 66 yards on 15 carries, while Kevin Youngblood caught six passes for 91 yards.
In the three games since Ted Roof took over the Blue Devils, the ACC’s annual patsy had suddenly got tough. Duke lost close ones to North Carolina State and Tennessee before emphatically breaking a 30-game league losing streak last week against Georgia Tech.
The breakthrough looked like it might continue Saturday, but after a promising opening drive stalled in Clemson territory, the Blue Devils punted the ball away and the game quickly got out of hand.
First was a methodical 80-yard Tiger drive that ended with a 31-yard touchdown catch by Hamilton. Then Duke’s Senterrio Landrum fumbled as he returned the ensuing kickoff. On the next play, Whitehurst flipped the ball to Hamilton around the line of scrimmage and the junior receiver turned it into a 25-yard TD to give Clemson a 14-0 lead.
Duke threw an interception deep in its territory two players later. The Tigers’ Aaron Hunt missed a 27-yard field goal, but by then the Blue Devil offense was so rattled and Clemson’s defense was so juiced it didn’t matter. In fact, Duke managed just one first down the rest of the first half and wouldn’t get back into the Tigers’ territory until late in the third quarter.
The only score for the Blue Devils came on a 25-yard run by Cedric Dargan after a Clemson fumble deep in its territory long after the game was decided.
Clemson’s Justin Miller had a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown to go along with a second-quarter interception.
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