Monday was judgment night for Clemson, and mentor Dabo Swinney expects the jury will convey a searing decision.
Clemson showed up in Durham positioned 10th in the Related Press preseason survey and was a staggering 1 to take down a Duke group that hadn’t overturned a main 10 program starting around 1989.
The Tigers left Durham battered, pummeled and totally confounded after a 28-7 misfortune that saw Clemson stagger through four drives inside the red zone that finished without focuses.
“That’s the weirdest game I’ve ever been a part of,” Swinney said. “I’ve been beat. I’ve had my butt kicked. But that’s the strangest game I’ve ever been a part of.”
Clemson had 12 additional first downs, 48 additional yards and both tossed and scrambled for 200 yards – – a detail, Swinney noted subsequently, that had connected to a 108-0 all-time record for the Tigers before Monday night.
The defeat for Clemson was a sad red zone execution that saw two short field objectives hindered and two bumbles by the offense following a first-and-objective at the 1.
Clemson lost the ball three times all together.
“It’s almost indescribable what I just saw,” Swinney said. “It’s incredibly frustrating when you had so much opportunity. … It’s routine stuff. The basics. The fundamentals. Basic, basic stuff.”
Quarterback Cade Klubnik tossed for 209 yards and scrambled for 34 more, however a scramble on fourth-and-7 halfway through the final quarter finished with a turnover on downs when Klubnik slid shy of the marker. On the play, a flag was thrown for targeting, but officials still gave Duke possession, which Swinney later admitted was the right decision.
Klubnik, who was making his second career start for Clemson following the Tigers’ Orange Bowl loss to Tennessee at the end of the 2022 season, was told by Swinney that the play would be a learning opportunity.
“He’s a gritty kid, a tough competitor, and I’m glad we’ve got him,” Swinney said. “Because I know how he’s going to respond.”
Swinney said he accepted similar about the remainder of his group, which he said won individual matchups yet lost on mental mix-ups.
“We’re not entitled to win,” he said. “You’ve got to go earn it. We had an opportunity to get control of that game on multiple occasions and we just didn’t. That’s how you get beat.”
Clemson lost its opener for the second time in three years and Monday was its most terrible ACC misfortune beginning around 2014, yet Swinney expressed absolutely no part of that changes his assumptions during the current year’s group.
“People are going to see the score and judge this team,” Swinney said. “I love this football team and I see a lot of opportunity here. … A lot of people are probably going to give up on us and throw us away. But I ain’t throwing this team away. We’re going to bounce back.”
It was an opinion reverberated by Klubnik, who demanded the terrifying beginning to the 2023 season will just make the consummation that vastly improved.
“This is just going to be such a sweet story,” Klubnik said. “That’s just the dream that I have and the dreams that our team has is to respond. That’s a decision we’ve got to make. Are we going to respond or are we going to let this linger? Ultimately our goal is to play in 15 games and finish 14-1. We can’t go undefeated now, but there’s a lot of games left.”
Klubnik mentioned that Clemson won the national championship despite a shocking loss to Pittsburgh in the 2016 season.
This misfortune, be that as it may, appeared to be seriously disappointing. While Swinney said he thought his group showed more than adequate explanations behind idealism, it denoted the Tigers’ third misfortune in their beyond four games – – something that hadn’t occurred starting around 2011. In the interim, the new-look offense with Klubnik in charge and new organizer Garrett Riley calling plays frequently looked as hindered as the units that caused such a lot of disappointment from fans over the beyond two seasons with DJ Uiagalelei at QB.
Swinney didn’t view it as such, be that as it may. He said that the final score looked much worse than the actual performance on the field, and that the loss hasn’t changed his expectations for this team.
“The good news is, if there is any good news, you didn’t see a horrible football team out there,” Swinney said. “You saw a bad result. But you didn’t see a bad football team that can’t play the game.”