The defending champs will be on the road for the first time this season and it will be against a team that almost handed them their only loss last season. Clemson will visit Syracuse for a Saturday night showdown.
Last season when Syracuse visited Clemson, the Orange had a 16-7 lead at the half. Trevor Lawrence was 10-15 with 93 yards and was forced to leave the game due to injury. Late in the fourth quarter, a questionable call by the refs proved to be the end for Syracuse. Travis Etienne carried the ball 27 times for 203 yards and three touchdowns.
Clemson vs. Syracuse Preview
The Tigers have had it easy in their first two games. In Week 1, they faced a poor Georgia State squad and won the game in blowout fashion. Week 2 saw Clemson play No. 12 Texas A&M. The game was low scoring but Clemson had a 24-3 lead for much of the game. Lawrence finished with 268 yards and a touchdown in that game. He also threw an interception.
Clemson’s offense has not been sharp yet. That might sound strange given that they scored 52 points in their first game, but Lawrence has not got it going yet. He was picked off twice by the Yellow Jackets. Instead, it is Etienne who is looking like an early season Heisman favorite.
“Two years ago, we couldn’t cover them. They either made the play or we pass interfered. All game. It was awful. And our offense couldn’t help our defense out because we were dysfunctional with our quarterback out,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said on previous matchups with Syracuse. “Last year, we had a good flow and next thing you know a crazy scramble drill and Trevor is knocked out. It was shaky and took us a while to settle down. And we had three turnovers, including one on the 10-yard line.”
The Orange are scrappy but it has been a tough first two weeks. They picked up an unimpressive Week 1 win over Liberty 24-0. In Week 2, Syracuse entered as a ranked team on the road and allowed 63 points. With how their first two games have gone, they will need to make some serious changes if they want to compete with the champs.
Tommy DeVito is the quarterback for Syracuse. He has thrown three touchdowns and three interceptions, two in the first game against Liberty. For DeVito, this is an important game to show that he can play against the best after a blowout loss to Maryland.
“As far as refocusing moving forward, coach always tells us this: don’t let them beat you twice,” DeVito said. “What he means by that is coming off of a loss you don’t want that to leak into the next week, you have to reset and get ready for the next game.”
Clemson vs. Syracuse Pick & Prediction
FanDuel Sportsbook has Clemson as a 28 point favorite on the road against a conference foe. Clemson is 1-1 ATS. Last week against Texas A&M, they held a 24-3 lead for much of the game but the Aggies were able to sneak in the back door with 12 seconds left. Their offense has not hit their stride yet but this game could get them going.
Syracuse has not been good ATS but they usually play Clemson tough. They beat them in 2017 and should have last season as well. Their building will be excited to play the No. 1 team in the nation, but at the end of the day, talent prevails. Lawrence finally breaks out in this one and the Tigers roll.
PICK: Clemson -28
SCORE PREDICTION: Clemson 40, Syracuse 10
Source: New feed