It was decision night for Coach Dabo Swinney and Clemson here in Durham, NC, and he is hoping that Ge’ari chooses a tough call.
Clemson Associated Press preseason poll ranked ninth and was a heavy favorite to beat the Duke team, who hadn’t upset a top-10 program since 1989. The Tigers scored an 28-7 win over Duke, after which they left Durham.
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Swinney mentioned in his statement that, this was one of the most strangest games that he has ever been a part of. Clemson had 12 first downs to Duke’s 48 and both threw and ran for 200 yards – an ACC stat coach noted later, tied to Clemson’s 108-0 all-time record against the Blue Devils since Monday night’s game.
Clemson had a nightmare in the red zone, with two blocked short field goals and a pair of unsuccessful fourth-down attempts. He stated that, the situation is almost indescribable, with what he just saw, it’s frustrating to a certain extent when you have an opportunity like that, these are basic things.
Quarterback Cade Klubnik threw for 209 yards and ran for 34 more but a fourth-quarter interception and a fumble in the middle of the fourth and 7 ended things when he fumbled the snap after Clemson had gotten a little life on the drive. The tension escalated when a penalty flag was thrown, singling him out. However, the officials ultimately awarded possession to Duke, a decision the coach later admitted was the correct one.
Swinney mentioned that this game would serve as a valuable learning experience for Klubnik, who was in just his second career start towards the end of the 2022 season, after falling to Tennessee in the Orange Bowl game.
The coach mentioned that, He’s a great kid, a tough competitor, and they are happy that they got him. Because, he knows how he would respond. He Mentioned, that while they excelled in one-on-one battles, but they were ultimately defeated during mind games. He stated, “Winning is never confirmed. It needs to be earned. We had many chances to take control of that game but we didn’t do it and that is the reason for you defeat.”
Clemson started its ACC journey in a tough spot, losing the opening game for the second time in three years, marking their worst ACC start since 2014. Nonetheless, coach stressed that his hopes and expectations for this year’s squad remained exactly the same.
Additionally he stated that the people will look at the score and make a decision on this team. But, I see a lot of future possibility here. A lot of people may jump off the bandwagon and throw us away. It was an emotion that the Clemson return elicited, as the dramatic end promised that only the start of 2023 would work to make the finish much better.
He mentioned, “This is just the dream that I see and it’s answering our team’s dreams. Are we answering the call or are we going to let it linger? Now, there is no space for a loss.”
He realized that Clemson took a significant loss to Pittsburgh in the 2016 season but still managed to win the national championship. However, this loss felt heavier compared to the rest. While Swinney said there are plenty of reasons to think his team is still in the pyramid, he pointed to the Tigers’ past four games, which marked the third defeat – something that hasn’t happened since 2011.
Coordinator Garrett Riley’s drama often appeared as stints in QB DJ Uiagalelei’s previous two seasons ended in such disappointment by fans in Key B.
However, the coach offered a distinct viewpoint, pointing out that the score on the field seemed far more one-sided than it truly was. Finally, he mentioned in the end that, the audience did not see a horrific football team out there. The result they saw was bad, but they didn’t see a bad football team that can’t play.