Duke Now

Duke will play Clemson for the first time since 2012

The Duke football program was among the top 10 percent nationally in Academic Progress Rate.
The Duke football program was among the top 10 percent nationally in Academic Progress Rate. AP

It’s been six years, but Duke will finally get a crack at Clemson, which is likely to start the 2018-19 season as one of the top teams in the country.

Duke released its schedule on Wednesday, and it plays Clemson on the road on Nov. 17, the second to last game of the regular season.

Last season, the Tigers won the ACC championship game, beating Miami 38-3, before playing in the College Football Playoff semifinals, where they lost to Alabama, 24-6.

The last time Duke and Clemson played, in 2012, Clemson won 56-20.

Duke will have the same non-conference games as it had last season. In its opening game, Duke will play at home against Army, a team it lost to 21-16 last season. The Blue Devils then go on to play Northwestern, Baylor and N.C. Central, over the next three weeks. Duke beat those three teams last season.

For the first time since 2013, Duke will not play any weeknight games this season. Last season, Duke played Miami on a Friday night in September.

The combined 2017 record of Duke’s upcoming 12 opponents was 86-64 (.573). Seven the 11 FBS opponents played in a bowl game last season.

Best game

North Carolina, Nov. 10: It’s a rivalry game and anything is bound to happen. The Blue Devils have won the last two matchups, and will be looking for three in a row, which hasn’t happened since it won for the third straight time in 1989.

Toughest stretch

Miami, UNC, Clemson, Wake: Duke’s toughest stretch will be the one in November – against Miami, UNC, Clemson and Wake Forest – to end the season. Clemson finished the regular season as the top-ranked team in the country, before losing to Alabama in the FBS playoffs.

Miami and Wake both played in bowl games last season.

Must win

Virginia Tech, Sept. 29: A win versus Virginia Tech, typically a top-25 team, would set the tone for the rest of conference play. It will be Duke’s first conference game of the season. Last season, after its win over UNC, Duke lost five straight conference games, before closing out the regular season with two wins. That momentum helped the Blue Devils to a 36-14 win over Northern Illinois in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26.

One to skip

N.C. Central, Sept. 22: Sure, it’s the Bull City Gridiron classic between two crosstown rivals. But this game hasn’t been competitive in recent years. Last season, Duke beat N.C. Central 60-7. Two years ago, 49-6. And three years ago, 55-0.

Staff writer Joe Giglio and Steve Wiseman contributed to this report

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander

Duke football’s 2018-19 schedule

with 2017-18 records

Sept. 1

Army West Point (10-3)

Sept. 8

at Northwestern (10-3)

Sept. 15

at Baylor (1-11)

Sept. 22

N.C. Central (7-4)

Sept. 29

Virginia Tech (9-4)

Oct. 6

BYE

Oct. 13

at Georgia Tech (5-6)

Oct. 20

Virginia (6-7)

Oct. 27

at Pittsburgh (5-7)

Nov. 3

at Miami (10-3)

Nov. 10

UNC (3-9)

Nov. 17

at Clemson (12-2)

Nov. 24

Wake Forest (8-5)

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