For the fifth time this season, Clemson faces off with an unbeaten team.
This time, it’s Syracuse who enters Death Valley with an unblemished mark of 6-0. Although, there is still a lot to learn about Dino Babers’ team, as the resume to this point isn’t all that impressive.
Five of the Orange’s first six games have been at home, and their only road game was at UConn, where all of 2,000 people were in attendance. Playing at Clemson will be something else entirely.
Their biggest win has come over Purdue, who had no issues moving the ball, racking up more than 400 passing yards and close to 500 yards of total offense. So while this Syracuse defense appears stingy on paper, it now faces its first true test.
Clemson is coming off a fairly uncharacteristic defensive performance in its 34-28 win over Florida State. The Tigers allowed more than 200 rushing yards, triggering a players only meeting earlier in the week.
Look for a far more focused effort this week, especially up front. Bryan Bresee looked like a guy who had barely played in the past month against the Seminoles. Xavier Thomas also looked like a guy basically making his season debut. Both should be much sharper this week.
The Orange are good enough to hang around for a bit, but this is finally the week, the Tigers make a statement. Syracuse players have been awfully chirpy this week, and that’s a strategy that usually doesn’t end well when opposing teams try it against Clemson.
Look for Brandon Streeter to once again find ways to get the running backs involved in the passing game. The tight ends will also play pivotal roles.
However, it will be DJ Uiagalelei that spurs this win, with his arms and legs. Add in what should be an inspired defensive effort, and the Tigers cover, and rather easily. Syracuse gets an overdue dose of reality.
Clemson 34 Syracuse 16
Clemson and Notre Dame have released depth charts ahead of this weekend’s matchup at Death Valley.
For the second time this season, Clemson will be an underdog at home.
Despite Clemson’s astonishing loss to Miami, the Tigers will head to Raleigh next week favored over NC State.