<
>

Clemson 49, Duke 20

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Will Proctor made his first Clemson start a
successful one, passing for two touchdowns and running for a third
in the Tigers' 49-20 victory over Duke on Saturday.

Proctor spent the past three seasons backing up Clemson star
Charlie Whitehurst, who had started 37 straight games for the
Tigers (5-4, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) entering this one. But
continuing pain in Whitehurst's throwing shoulder forced him to
miss a game for first time since he started against the Blue Devils
in 2002.

And Proctor did not disappoint the Homecoming crowd of 77,000 at
Death Valley, leading the Tigers to touchdowns on their first two
drives.

Then when Clemson blocked a Duke field goal with 32 seconds to
go before the half, Proctor directed a drive that finished with his
11-yard scoring pass to Stuckey and put the Tigers up 28-3.

Reggie Merriweather added rushing touchdowns of 19, 8 and 12
yards -- the final one with 40 seconds left and Clemson ahead 42-20
-- while senior Chansi Stuckey caught the first two TD passes of his
career for Clemson, which has won six of its past seven with the
Blue Devils.

The best news for Duke? College basketball season starts in a
few weeks.

The Blue Devils (1-9, 0-7) have lost seven straight since their
lone victory over Division I-AA VMI.

Duke's freshman quarterback, Zach Asack, hadn't thrown for more
than 111 yards in a game this season. But he ended 26-of-43 for 328
yards, including a 66-yard touchdown to Enon Riley.

Still, even with Whitehurst's absence, it was a long shot for
Duke to win here at Memorial Stadium -- something it hasn't done in
13 tries dating to 1980.

Proctor finished 13-of-21 for 201 yards and led the Tigers to
their most points in 20 games since defeating South Carolina 63-17
in November 2003. Merriweather had 104 yards rushing, his third
straight 100-yard game.

The Blue Devils managed only 42 rushing in the first half and
never slowed couldn't slow down a jazzed-up Proctor.

He leaped high after he sneaked in from a yard out to put
Clemson ahead 7-0, accepting congratulations from Whitehurst when
he returned to the sidelines.

After Proctor found a wide-open Stuckey for a 40-yard scoring
pass to extend Clemson's lead to 35-10, the quarterback looked
toward the Tigers bench and cocked his arms back and forth in
celebration.

The Tigers and coach Tommy Bowden might need that enthusiasm
down the stretch. They must defeat either Florida State next
Saturday in the seventh Bowden Bowl or the rival Gamecocks and
their new coach Steve Spurrier in two weeks to qualify for the
postseason.