Clemson was expected to be where it is. Syracuse was not. So, Saturday brings the ACC another battle of unbeatens in the Atlantic Division. First, Clemson won at Wake Forest in double-overtime. Next, the Tigers defeated NC State at home. And now Clemson gets the upstart Orange who are 6-0 and ranked 14th this week.
This will be the first game in the history of Death Valley were both teams undefeated with records of 6-0 or better. Clemson is riding a 13-game winning streak and a 37-game home winning streak, one win shy of breaking a tie with Florida State for the longest home winning streak in ACC history.
Clemson has won the last five meetings with Syracuse, barely escaping with a 17-14-win last season when the Orange missed a 47-yard field goal in the final seconds that would have sent the game into overtime. Orange running back Sean Tucker ran through and around the Clemson defense in that game for 157 yards. He is back and is second in the ACC in rushing.
Key comments from Dabo Swinney on Syracuse
- Lot of respect for the Syracuse QB Shrader, he loves to run the ball, doesn’t look to get down, very fast, can flat-out run, their team has gone better as the season has gone on, physical up front, all five starters back on OL.
- Syracuse RB Sean Tucker is a great player, an All-American, and they are feeding him the ball and that’s good coaching, and they have playmakers at receiver.
- Syracuse will pressure blitz 50% of the time, they have two really good corners, safeties are solid and outstanding linebackers, up front they are disruptive. A very balanced football team.
- Shrader is a problem to get on the ground. “He’s a big, strong man.” He’s an aggressive runner and sees coverage well. You have to be sound with gaps and also set the edge.
- Confidence level for DJ Uiagalelei is very high, mentally he is very good, he’s worked very hard and now he looks like the guy he saw as a freshman. Last year was a tough year and it made him better.
- Not many guys playing better football right now than Uiagalelei. He prepares like a pro, he’s playing like a pro, he’s become very much inside-out, unbelievable focus and reaping the benefits from that.
- They had 24 missed tackles vs Florida State, Seminoles did a good job early on the stretch play, they made adjustments and did better in second and third quarters, they got away from that in fourth quarter, guys have to play the call.
- OL doing a great job up front for Shrader, they’ve done a nice job with perimeter game, screen game, going to get ball to Tucker a lot, receivers have emerged, he’s more accurate with deep ball and more confident with back-shoulder.
- Tyler Davis is as good a player as they have, scouts know who he is, he’s a problem, day in and day out consistent, relentless with his effort, you know what you’ve got every day with him.
- Xavier Thomas a little sore from the FSU game, he’s healing as he goes along, they have him on a plan on how they practice him. He’ll get better and better as the season goes on.