Clemson will play under the lights in Death Valley for the first time this year on Saturday against the Blue Devils on Military Appreciation Day and Senior Day. The Tigers will be wearing their purple uniforms and before the game, will honor their 33 seniors and graduates individually.
This senior class is arguably the best that Clemson has ever had. They have already set records, and will have an opportunity on Saturday to set some more. These seniors have won the most games, 50, over their four years at Clemson.
A win over the Blue Devils will give the seniors their 51 wins, which would break the ACC record and join Alabama in being the only schools to have produced a senior class with this many wins. Dabo Swinney said that it is never easy to say goodbye to his seniors, but he said that this senior class in particular “has brought a lot of joy to my life.”
Although Clemson is favored to beat Duke, Swinney said that this matchup will be the “biggest challenge defensively all year.” The Blue Devils are coming off of an exciting 42-35 win over their rivals, North Carolina. Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, is the leader of the team. He is on top of his game and is a big reason why Duke has a 7-3 record. He can run the ball, he’s got a big arm, and he’s hard to tackle.
In the UNC game, Jones threw the for 361 yards and ran for 186. Duke produced 547 total yards against UNC, which is the most ever allowed by the Tar Heels. Swinney recognizes Jones skills, calling him a “special player.” Clemson’s defense is well equipped to deal with a quarterback of this talent, as Clemson is number one in scoring defense, and top 10 in total defense.
Last week’s win over Boston College clinched the Atlantic division for Clemson for the fourth straight year as they will play in the ACC Championship in two weeks . Duke has been plagued with injuries all season, and now they will have to face Clemson without their No. 2 tackler, safety Deondre Singleton, who suffered a broken ankle against North Carolina last week. Even if Duke was completely healthy on defense, it would still be a challenge in slowing down Trevor Lawrence and company.
Clemson will be the first ranked team that Duke will play this year, and they will not be prepared to defend all of Clemson’s offensive weapons or put up many points against Clemson’s dominating defense. The combination of the first home night game and Military Appreciation Day and Senior Day should make for a fun night for the Tigers.
The game will air on ESPN and will kick off at 7:00 p.m. in Memorial Stadium.