Clemson’s Football History vs. Duke

Editor’s Note: This is part of an All Clemson series of stories, which breaks down Clemson Football’s history against its 10 Power 5 Conference opponents for the 2023 season. In each story, All Clemson Tigers will recap a Memorable Game, Memorable Play, Significant Win, Significant Loss, Did You Know, Top Individual Performances, as well as detailed facts from the series’ history.

Clemson will kick off the 2023 football season on Labor Day night (Sept. 4) against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C. The game will begin at 8 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPN.

This will be the first meeting between the two since 2018, and the first at Duke since 2012.

The Tigers and Blue Devils have met 54 times on the gridiron, which dates back to 1934. Below is all you need to know about the series between the two ACC rivals.

Memorable Game: The 1995 Clemson-Duke game was not memorable because of its final score. The Tigers beat the Blue Devils 34-17 that afternoon in Death Valley. However, it is a noteworthy game because Clemson running back Raymond Priester rushed for a single-game Clemson record 263 yards, which still stands today. To add insult to injury, Clemson safety Brian Dawkins intercepted three passes in one quarter that afternoon, also a Clemson record. The game was also remembered for being played in a downpour in the first half and then in sunny conditions in the second half.

Memorable Play: Clemson won the first overtime game in ACC history when it beat Duke in 1997. After Clemson kicked a field goal on its overtime possession, Tigers’ linebacker Rahim Abdullah intercepted a pass and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown. The interception gave Clemson a 29-20 victory.

Significant Win: Clemson and Duke have met just twice as ranked teams in the 54-year history of the rivalry. The most memorable of those two meetings, and the last time it happened, came in 1988 when 5-0 Duke, ranked No. 22, traveled to Death Valley to take on No. 11 Clemson, who was 4-1 at the time. In front of a sold-out Homecoming Crowd, the Tigers dominated Steve Spurrier’s Blue Devils, 49-17. Playing in front of a nationally televised audience on ESPN, Clemson great Levon Kirkland introduced himself to the college football world, as the linebacker lived in the Duke backfield all night. In the first start of his career, he forced a third-quarter fumble on a sack of Duke quarterback Anthony Dilweg that blew the game open. The Tigers held Dilweg to 209 passing yards and intercepted him twice on 18-of-41 passing. Dilweg came into the game leading the ACC at 357 passing yards per game. Clemson rolled up 533 total yards, including 388 on the ground.

Significant Loss: In 1989, 1-3 Duke stunned No. 7 and 4-0 Clemson, 21-17, in Durham. Though Clemson held a 14-0 halftime lead and intercepted five Duke passes, the Blue Devils stormed back behind the passing of quarterback Billy Ray and the running of Randy Cuthbert. Ray threw a seven-yard touchdown pass with 3:18 remaining to give Duke the upset win. The Blue Devils went on to win seven straight games and a share of the ACC Championship. The loss cost the Tigers a shot at a fourth straight ACC Championship and a national championship, too.

Did You Know? Duke ranks third in the ACC in overall conference championships in football with 17. The Blue Devils own 10 South Conference titles and seven ACC Championships. Only Clemson (27) and Florida State (18) have more.

Series Record: Clemson leads 37-16-1

Games played at Clemson: Clemson leads 20-4-1

Games played at Duke: Clemson leads 15-12

Neutral Site Games: Clemson leads 2-0

First Meeting: Duke won 20-6 in 1934, at Duke

Last Meeting: Clemson won 35-6 in 2018, at Clemson

First Meeting as ACC opponents: Duke won 7-6 in 1957, at Duke

First Clemson win in the series: 1959, 6-0 at Clemson

Last Game at Duke: Clemson won 56-20 in 2012

Last Duke win: 2004, 16-13 in Durham

Last Duke win at Clemson: 1980, 34-17

Current win streak: Clemson has won five straight

Longest win streak in the series: Clemson won 8 straight from 1981-’88

Duke’s longest win streak: Duke won the first four meetings from 1934-’36, 1957

Other series facts: Clemson and Duke were two of the seven charter members of the ACC, which began in 1953. The first four meetings were all played in Durham… The two teams played in Jacksonville, Fla in 1971 and in Japan in 1991… Duke won seven of the first nine meetings in the series… Clemson has won 15 straight meetings in Clemson, which dates back to 1982… Clemson beat Duke 3-2 in 1965 and 3-0 in 1971… Duke’s Vince Fusco kicked six field goals in the 1976 game at Clemson, including a then ACC record 57-yard field goal to tie the game on the last play of the game. The ball hit the crossbar and bounced over to make the score 18-18. It’s the only tie in the history of the series… Dabo Swinney’s first win at Death Valley was a 31-7 victory over Duke in the 2008 meeting.

Clemson’s Top Individual Performances vs. Duke

Quarterback: Tajh Boyd – 16-of-23 for 344 yards and 5 Touchdowns, 2012 (Clemson won 56-20)

Running back: Raymond Priester – Clemson single-game record 263 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries, 1995 (Clemson won 34-17)

Receiver: DeAndre Hopkins – 4 catches for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns, 2012 (Clemson won 56-20)

Linebacker: Keith Adams – Clemson single-game record 4 sacks, 1999 (Clemson won 58-7)

Safety: Brian Dawkins – Clemson record 3 interceptions in the one quarter, 1995 (Clemson won 34-17)

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