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#pounditTuesday, April 23, 2024

Clemson hurt by controversial call late against Duke

Clemson QB Cade Klubnik slides short of a first down against Duke

The Clemson Tigers were hurt by a controversial call late in their season opener against Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham on Monday.

With about eight minutes left in the fourth quarter trailing 21-7, Clemson was facing 4th-and-7 at their own 49-yard line. Tigers quarterback Cade Klubnik ran the football and ended up sliding a yard shy of the first down marker. After giving himself up on the slide, Klubnik took a hard hit from Duke linebacker Cam Dillon that was called targeting.

Many fans instantly thought that Clemson would retain possession due to the targeting foul, but that’s not what happened.

The referees said Dillon’s illegal hit was a dead-ball foul that came after Klubnik already been ruled down before taking the contact. The officials reviewed the play and later confirmed that the targeting call came after the ball was dead.

The decision resulted in a Clemson turnover on downs. Duke gained possession and was subsequently penalized for 15 yards for targeting.

While the ruling was made clear, some fans (and former NFL QBs) were perplexed that the targeting call didn’t result in an automatic first down for Clemson.

Despite the confusion, the officials made the correct call. Even Clemson coach Dabo Swinney acknowledged after the game that the call was correct.

The Clemson turnover all but ended any hopes of a comeback, as Duke managed to eat up more clock and even scored a touchdown minutes later.

Duke held Clemson scoreless in the entire second half as they pulled off a monumental 28-7 upset against their heavily-favored visitors.

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