Opponent preview: What to know about No. 3 Clemson

first_imgSyracuse (4-0) travels to Death Valley, South Carolina on Saturday to take on No. 3 Clemson (4-0) at noon. After a 51-21 win over Connecticut last Saturday, the Orange is 4-0 for the first time since 1991, while Clemson defeated Georgia Tech, 49-21, marking the Tigers’ fourth-straight 4-0 start.Here’s what to know about Clemson headed into this week’s matchup.All-time series: 4-2, Clemson leadsLast time they played: Syracuse defeated then-No. 2 Clemson 27-24 in the Orange’s biggest upset in more than 30 years. After entering the game 24-point underdogs, Syracuse jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and entered the half up 17-14. The Orange knocked out Clemson starting quarterback Kelly Bryant late in the second quarter and allowed 88 passing yards after that. The Syracuse offense — led by Eric Dungey’s 339 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns — combined for 440 yards on 83 plays.The Clemson report: On Tuesday, senior quarterback Kelly Bryant informed Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney he was transferring. This came days after Clemson announced freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence (see player to watch) would start Saturday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textClemson averages 40.8 points per game, about nine points less than SU. The Tigers rank 28th and 22nd in passing and rushing yards per game, respectively. Clemson reached season highs in both against Georgia Southern with a combined 595 total yards.While much will be made about Clemson’s opting for the freshman quarterback Lawrence over the senior Bryant, the Tigers also generate offense from its backfield. Sophomore running back Travis Etienne has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the last two games to accompany five rushing touchdowns on the season.Since losing in the Carrier Dome on Oct. 13 last season, Clemson’s lone loss came against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.The Tigers returned four defensive starters on the line from a year ago: Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant, Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell. Ferrell ranks tie for second in the country in sacks, with five. The group made up all of the preseason All-ACC defensive line choices and have been projected as high round draft picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. Clemson has tallied 16 sacks through four games, which ties it for the nation’s second-highest mark. As a whole, Clemson’s defense ranks in the top 20 in both yards allowed per game (252, 4th) and points allowed per game (15.3, 16th).How Syracuse beats Clemson: Head coach Dino Babers said Monday that it would take “an almost spotless game” to defeat Clemson on Saturday. With the Tigers boast four and five star recruits all over the field, Syracuse will have little room for error. The easiest template to go off of is Syracuse’s upset last season. The Orange didn’t throw an interception, paced the game by breaching the 80-play mark and answered all but one of Clemson’s scores with points on the next drive. In Syracuse’s last two wins, the Orange have tallied four and then six sacks. If that number stays high, the freshman quarterback could feel the pressure. That, coupled with another strong performance from Dungey, who currently sits at No. 10 in ESPN Heisman Watch, is just some of what SU would need to win a game it’s predicted to lose by more than 20 by the oddsmakers.Player to watch: Trevor Lawrence, quarterback, No. 16Trevor Lawrence entered Clemson’s campus last January as the No.1 recruit in the country, per rivals.com. At Cartersville (Georgia) High School, Lawrence set state records in passing yards (13,908) and touchdowns (161) which were previously held by Deshaun Watson. In four games, Lawrence has thrown for 600 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes. Lawrence’s start on Saturday will be the first of his career and comes following a Georgia Tech game in which Lawrence came off the bench to throw for four touchdowns and 176 yards. Comments Published on September 26, 2018 at 11:39 pm Contact Josh: [email protected] | @Schafer_44 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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