Clemson wide receivers dropped four passes, while the running game managed just 17 yards. However, Trevor Lawrence threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Justyn Ross and Tavien Feaster had a 2-yard touchdown run as the second-ranked Tigers took a 14-6 lead over Duke into the locker room Saturday at Death Valley.
Clemson still managed 195 total yards in the first 30 minutes, but it had just 32 yards in the opening quarter. The Tigers were 0-for-7 on third down in the first half.
The Tigers running game struggled to do anything, as the longest run was two 5-yard runs by Feaster. Duke came into the game allowing nearly 1,100 rushing yards in the last three games.
The Clemson defense struggled early on as well, allowing 83- and 37-yard scoring drives. The Blue Devils finished the first half with 175 total yards and was 4-of-12 on third down.
Quarterback Daniel Jones completed 16-of-31 passes for 106 yards.
Lawrence, who led Clemson 178 yards passing on 14-of-28 passing, threw a 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:16 to go in the first half to give the Tigers a 14-6 lead. The touchdown pass capped an 8-play, 68-yard drive that saw the Tigers drop two passes, one by Travis Etienne and one by tight end Brandon Galloway.
On the previous drive, Derion Kendrick dropped a long pass from Lawrence that dropped right into his hands. The pass would have been a 64-yard touchdown.
Clemson took a 7-6 lead on a 2-yard run by Feaster with 12:44 to play in the first half. Feaster’s touchdown was set up by a 41-yard Lawrence to Ross pass down the near sideline.
Ross led the Tigers with 72 yards on three catches.
Duke took a 6-0 lead with two first-quarter field goals by Collin Wareham. The first was a 34-yard field with 5:14 to play in the first quarter and the second was a 32-yard kick with 22 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
Clemson’s defense began to figure things out in the second quarter and held Duke to 48 total yards.
Clemson lost wide receiver Hunter Renfrow with what looked like a concussion in the second quarter. It was announced he will not return to the game.