Duke does what it’s ‘capable of,’ upsets Clemson
DURHAM, N.C. — Riley Leonard ran for one touchdown and threw for 175 yards as the Duke Blue Devils upset No. 9 Clemson 28-7 on Monday night, capping a wild Week 1 of college football.
The Tigers (0-1) outgained the Blue Devils (1-0) and won the time of possession battle, but three turnovers doomed the new-look Clemson offense.
Cade Klubnik, entering his first full season as Clemson’s starting quarterback, was intercepted, and the Tigers also lost two fumbles in the loss, a game in which they had the ball for 33:33 and finished with 29 first downs.
“This is what I envisioned Duke could be when I took this job,” Blue Devils second-year coach Mike Elko said in his postgame, on-field interview.
The Tigers, last season’s ACC champions who lost to Tennessee in the Orange Bowl to end the year, revamped the offense in the offseason, bringing in Garrett Riley as the new coordinator.
Last season, Riley orchestrated the TCU offense, helping the Horned Frogs to the College Football Playoff title game, where they lost to Georgia. This was not the beginning coach Dabo Swinney drew up when he hired Riley.
“It’s important on the outside, because I think it makes people believe a little bit more what we’ve been saying since the day I got here,” Elko said. “What we’ve been saying internally is this is what Duke football is capable of. We’ve never ever wavered.”
The win was Duke’s first over an AP top-10 opponent since 1989. And it was the program’s first victory over Clemson since 2004.
“Incredibly disappointing loss,” Swinney said. “Honestly, in all my years of football, I’ve never been a part of a game like that. Ever.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.