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Clemson vs. Duke: 4th Quarter Film Review

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NCAA Football: Duke at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

By this point in the game, Clemson has increased its lead to 22 and that’s probably enough for the ACC Atlantic Division champs, but the first string remains on the field as we start the fourth quarter. This is normally the point in the game where Dabo puts in the backups and we call it a game, but the Tigers still want another score to put the game away and rightfully so. The first half was a struggle, but Clemson pulled away in the third quarter, so what was there left to do in the fourth? Good question. I think Dabo wanted to see if his offense was ready for South Carolina (yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking, of course they are). After a less-than-stellar offensive output though, we needed to see if Clemson could have that putaway drive in the fourth quarter, and the answer was yes.

The combination of Trevor Lawrence and Adam Choice (with the help of the Duke defense) led Clemson right down the field. Lawrence’s touchdown pass to TJ Chase was a thing of beauty, and Clemson wrapped this game up early in the 4th.

What I was most impressed with in the fourth quarter was the play of the second, third, and even some of the fourth string defense. We’ve seen those guys come in and give up big plays late in other games, and even gave up a score or two in a few. This game however, they were pretty lockdown the entire quarter. No big plays downfield and they stuffed the run just like the first string unit. This gives me a lot of confidence moving forward in the defense as a whole, which is going to be crucial if the Tigers make their fourth College Football Playoff appearance.

There’s not a whole lot here in this review, but overall, it was a good quarter for the guys in purple.

28-6 Clemson, 15:00, Duke 48

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
3rd & 9 Shotgun 4-wide vs. Nickel Delayed handoff to Choice vs. Cover 2 zone, gain of 12 The delayed handoff clears out the defensive line and linebackers and Choice has an easy hole up the middle to run. He picks up the first down by running right through a Duke safety. Prayers up.
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Counter handoff to Choice vs. Man coverage, gain of 8 Choice follows the tight end outside but has to bounce off and cut back towards the middle of the field. He would've picked up the first down had he not stumbled.
2nd & 2 Shotgun 4-wide vs. Nickel Read option vs. Cover 2 zone, Lawrence keeps for a loss of 1 Simple read option for Lawrence. DE crashes on Choice so Lawrence keeps and wisely races towards the sideline instead of taking two defenders head-on.
3rd & 3 Shotgun vs. Nickel Option vs. Cover 2 man, Lawrence pitch to Choice gains 2 The camera angle gives us a bad look at the defense, but it appears the man coverage crashes on Choice after Lawrence's pitch, stuffing him a yard short. Somebody missed a block on this play.
4th & 1 Shotgun vs. Nickel Dive vs. Cover 1 Fire, Choice moves the pile for the 1st down Simple call right here. Give your physical running back the ball and let him push forward past the sticks.
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Reverse to Kendrick vs. Cover 2 zone, gain of 3 Like the playcall but Anchrum needs to pick up that block on the DB for this play to fully work. Nonetheless, not a terrible call.
2nd & 7 Shotgun vs. Nickel Slant to Rodgers vs. Cover 1 man LB Fire, dropped Rodgers didn't have his best night receiving. It was a bullet by Lawrence, and it could've been a bad throw on his part. Thought Rodgers could secure that though.
3rd & 7 Shotgun 4-wide vs. Nickel Deep out to Thompson vs. Cover 1 man blitz, holding on Duke DB held Thompson the whole way. Easy flag. Moves the chains. Next.
1st & Goal Pistol vs. Nickel PA Post vs. Cover 1 Man, pass complete to TJ Chase for the score Lawrence and Choice sell the run beautifully, and Lawrence throws a dart off his back foot to TJ Chase for the touchdown. Incredible throw on the move. That was the dagger if there hadn't been one already.

35-6 Clemson, 11:21, Duke 25

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Assume it is an out route but the camera doesn't show the play The TV camera come back on in the middle of the play, just in time to see the Duke defender get tackled. They picked up solid yards on first down though.
2nd & 2 Shotgun vs. Nickel Inside zone vs, Cover 2 man, gain of 3 picks up the first down Easy handoff to the back to pick up the first down. Offensive line created a good enough hole for the back to slip through and move the chains.
1st & 10 Shotgun bunch vs. 4-3 Inside zone vs. Cover 3 zone, gain of 1 Duke had a tough time running the ball all game and nothing different here. Register just sheds his block and stuffs the back.
2nd & 9 Shotgun vs. Nickel PA bubble screen vs. Cover 1 man DB fire, loss of 2 Not sure what Duke was doing here. The bubble screen left Denzel Johnson unblocked and he reads the play from the start, coming up to make a great open field tackle. I very much like Johnson's progression.
3rd & 11 Shotgun vs. Nickel Inside counter vs. Cover 3 zone, gain of 1 Inside handoff is stuffed again by the Clemson defense and Duke is forced to punt.

35-6 Clemson, 8:21, Clemson 26

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Inside zone vs. Cover 1 man, gain of 4 Chase Brice has entered the game now and his first play is handoff to Feaster, who picks up a good chunk of yards on first down.
2nd & 6 Shotgun vs. Nickel Fake jet sweep toss to Feaster vs. all man coverage, loss of 1 Duke wasn't fooled by this play. No outside blocking or help from the offensive line doomed this play from the start. Throw this one away if they're not going to add an extra blocker to the toss side.
3rd & 7 Shotgun vs. Nickel Corners vs. Cover 2 man, pass dropped by Overton Overton runs a little corner route and Brice delivers an excellent ball right on the money that's dropped. Not a great game for the Clemson receivers. Clemson punts.

35-6 Clemson, 7:06, Duke 28

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Sweep vs. Cover 1 man, gain of 4 Second and third stringers are now in on both sides of the ball. Duke picks up good yards on the sweep to open the drive
2nd & 6 Pistol vs. Nickel PA pass vs. Cover 1 man DB blitz, QB scrambles for 12 yards A missed tackle by Mason Rudolph allows the backup QB to sneak away, but it was a smart decision to scramble given the pocket had already collapsed. Just a good play by the QB
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Outside zone vs. Cover 1 man, gain of 1 Great read by the Clemson defense. Defensive line got of its blocks and the LBs and safety Nolan Turner were there for make the stop. Still no room to run for Duke's RBs.
2nd & 9 Pistol vs. Nickel PA pass vs. Cover 1 zone, pass incomplete Good coverage by the defense forces a bad throw by the QB. Nobody was open and there wasn't much room for the QB to scramble. Good defense right here.
3rd & 9 Shotgun vs. Nickel PA pass vs. Cover 2 man, QB scramble for 6 yards Again, nothing downfield for the QB so he has to scramble and try to get close to the sticks. Unfortunately for him he's met by a wall of Tiger defenders at the 50 and that'll end the drive. Duke punts.

35-6 Clemson, 4:28, Clemson 6

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Read option keeper vs. Cover 1 man, Brice gains 5 yards Brice makes the right decision to keep as the DE crashes on Lyn-J Dixon. Another block or two and Brice picks up big yards. The more I watch his film, the more I see that he has a good ability to run in open space. Got some wheels when he gets going.
2nd & 5 Shotgun vs. Nickel Inside handoff to Dixon vs. Cover 1 man, gain of 9 Dixon with an incredible bounce outside while shedding a tackler to pick up the first. Explosive is the only word good enough to describe him. He needs more reps.
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Read option give to Dixon vs. Cover 1 man LB blitz, gain of 10 Brice makes another good decision in the option game and gives to Dixon who bursts up the middle for big yards. This is probably a touchdown if the safety isn't standing in his path. Dixon might be our fastest back. Would love to see him and Etienne in a foot race.
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Read option keeper vs. Cover 1 zone, gain of 4 Again, another good decision by Brice running the option. Would like to see him slide when coming up on a defender. He's a tough kid who doesn't seem to mind getting hit though.
2nd & 6 Shotgun vs. Nickel Read option vs. Cover 1 zone, gain of 13 after Brice recovers fumble What was going to be a small gain on the read option keeper turns into a big game after Brice fumbles the keep but quickly recovers and scoots away for 13 yards. Good save on the play.
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Counter vs. Cover 1 man LB blitz, gain of 3 Simple misdirection counter to the RB who follows his blocks well. Needed more blocking from the offensive line to be more successful. Only thing I've got here is that Rencher is a good friend of mine from high school, so it's cool to see him on the field getting some PT.
2nd & 7 Shotgun trips vs. Nickel Read option give vs. Cover 1 man, gain of 7 Another RB in the game, this time it's senior Ty Thomason. Good decision by Brice to give and Thomason with a good burst up the middle for the first down. Not bad for the 37th different running back of the night.
1st & 10 Shotgun vs. Nickel Inside zone vs. Cover 2 man LB blitz, gain of 1 And once again, another different RB gets a snap. This time it's senior Ryan Mac Lain who gets a yard on the play. Got some quickness to him. LB saw the run all the way though and made a good stop.
2nd & 9 Shotgun vs. Nickel Sweep vs. Cover 2 man, gain of 3 Mac Lain gets another handoff on a sweep and gets a few yards.
3rd & 6 Shotgun vs. Nickel Draw vs. Cover 1 man, loss of 1 Rencher gets the final handoff but gets stuffed at the line. Ball game over, Tigers win.

That’ll do it. Clemson finishes 8-0 in ACC play for the second time under Swinney and heads into the South Carolina game with the opportunity to complete its seventh undefeated regular season in program history. It’s been such an incredible year for the Tigers. Let’s go cap off the regular season with another chicken kickin’.