Clemson’s secondary must hold against Riley Leonard
If you review the spread and over/under totals, it becomes clear that oddsmakers do not think Clemson’s offense is going to shut down Duke. They think the Blue Devils should score about three touchdowns on the Tigers.
There are probably a few reasons. The game is in Durham. There might be more visiting fans than normal in Wallace Wade Stadium, but it’s still Duke’s home field.
The Blue Devils return a lot of experience around Riley Leonard, and he proved himself as a quarterback last season. On the other side, Clemson’s secondary earned a reputation for being shaky. While they did perform well several times in the back half of the season, a poor performance in the Orange Bowl just amplified the Tiger’s woes in the backfield.
Clemson returns four starters in the secondary and three experienced second-stringers beyond that. The defensive line might need time to completely figure out their best lineup, so there is less margin for error this season.
There is also a good chance that the experience in the backfield leads to the Tigers playing more of the 3-3-5 formation. The experienced secondary must become a strength if the defense is going to be successful against proven offenses like Duke and Florida State.