For the second straight season, the Clemson Tigers fell to an ACC transplant from the Big East as the Syracuse Orange earned a 27-24 win Friday night.
From the opening drive of the game, where Syracuse marched down the field and scored with ease against a defense that up to the point had handled all comers, this evening seemed ominous for the road team.
Despite Clemson’s offense keeping up stride-for-stride with orange-clad Syracuse, Kelly Bryant’s condition started to deteriorate when Head Coach Dabo Swinney said he tweaked his ankle in the second quarter. Bryant moved gingerly as he kept taking hits on throws down the field, ultimately succumbing to a massive blow which knocked him from the game with a concussion.
Zerrick Cooper came in and played the entire second half, going 10-of-14 for 88 yards, but the offense lacked the precision seen with Bryant at the helm.
Cooper and WR Hunter Renfrow expressed their disappointment following the contest:
The Clemson defense had its worst showing of the season, especially in the secondary.
Breakdowns in the defense were the norm against Eric Dungey who threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns, while also scrambling for 61 more on the ground. Syracuse put up 440 yards of total offense against a defense that had averaged just 264 yards per contest.
Christian Wilkins and Dorian O’Daniel addressed what went wrong in their eyes:
Discipline was a problem for both sides, with a total of 23 accepted penalties, including 11 against Clemson for 119 penalty yards. Syracuse also went 8-of-19 on 3rd Down, converting twice on the final drive to keep the ball in Orange hands for the final six-plus minutes of the football game.
Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables
Head Coach Dabo Swinney
— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) October 14, 2017
Clemson (6-1, 4-1) now faces an open date, with its next contest on Saturday, October 28th at home against Georgia Tech.