By Mary Apartment
June 29, 2020
In Clemson's 2023 football season opener, the No. 9 Tigers faced an unexpected setback against Duke, losing 28-7. This marked Clemson's first loss to Duke since 2004
Clemson's 2023 season debut, under new coordinator Garrett Riley and quarterback Cade Klubnik, began with a disjointed start. Klubnik's risky throws and difficulty finding open receivers led to a punt-heavy first half.
Clemson's offensive struggles extended into the red zone, with two fumbles inside the Duke 5-yard-line. The first fumble, due to a mishandled handoff, allowed Duke to recover. The second resulted in a Duke touchdown, making it 21-7.
Clemson's defense faced a dual-threat challenge in Riley Leonard, who rushed for 98 yards and threw for 175. Leonard's 44-yard touchdown run in the third quarter tested Clemson's defense, which held but faced an overall challenging performance.
Special teams played a key role. Wade Woodaz's recovery of a muffed punt set up Clemson's first touchdown. However, special teams had their own issues, including blocked and missed field goals.
Clemson's 2023 season opener revealed both strengths and weaknesses. As they analyze their performance, the Tigers aim to address offensive struggles, red zone inefficiencies, and special teams issues, looking ahead to a successful 2023 campaign