Clemson Football lost their second season opener in the past three seasons on Monday night. The Duke Blue Devils made a statement with a victory against the Tigers, who had been a co-favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference this season.
While some casual fans assumed Duke would be a pushover, fans who watched Duke in 2022 knew they were good enough to give the Tigers a game. Riley Leonard had a good season behind center and was a major contributor to the Blue Devils’ offensive efforts in the opener.
At the risk of disrespecting Duke, the primary reason Clemson lost the ball game was the continual mistakes deep in Blue Devil territory when the Tigers had chances to score. In many ways, it felt like a repeat performance from last year’s Orange Bowl – plenty of yards and drives, no red zone efficiency. Sometimes it was the offense. Sometimes it was special teams.
That wasn’t the only reason, however. We learned one big thing about the defense too that wasn’t complimentary.
What did we learn from this performance by the Tigers on Monday night? Plenty, but here are the five things that stand out to me above all the rest.