When Brent Venables turned on the Virginia Tech game, the first thing he noticed was how Syracuse attacked the Hokies’ aggressive defense.
On the game’s first possession, quarterback Eric Dungey hit Ervin Phillips with a 58-yard touchdown pass. After Virginia Tech kicked a field goal, Dungey again went deep, hitting Brisly Estime with an 84-yard scoring pass.
“I thought Syracuse attacked them from the onset and really got after them,” Venables said.
Venables and No. 2 Clemson expect the same level of attack from the Orange on Saturday when they visit Death Valley for a 3:30 p.m. kick.
Syracuse (4-4, 2-2 ACC) beat the Hokies on that Oct. 15 game, handing Virginia Tech it’s only ACC loss of the season. Dungey, who threw for 311 yards and ran for 106 more in the win, guided an offense that totaled 561 yards against one of the better defenses in the conference.
A lot of that had to do with that fact the Orange wore down the Hokies thanks to 100 plays from scrimmage.
“This will be the fastest team we have played at tempo,” Venables said. “They are averaging more plays than anyone we have played. We have to practice with a great deal of urgency. Our guys are used to it. We try to practice that way, even with the scouts.”
The Tigers (8-0, 5-0 ACC) have averaged about 110 snaps per practice this week in trying to get used to Syracuse’s offense. The Orange is averaging 84 snaps per game this season.
“It’s hard. It is not easy, but we are used to going no huddle and communicating fast. It is not a complete and new philosophy, but they are really good at it.”
Syracuse is averaging 486.8 yards per game this year, including 546.5 the last two games … both wins.
“You can tell the coaches are coaching them with a lot of energy and the players believing in what they are doing, in the last couple of games in particular,” Venables said. “In what might be the Coastal Champion, they got after them real well.”
Dungy is the guy that drives the ship. He is averaging 328.9 yards passing per game. The sophomore has completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,631 yards. He has also shown throughout the season that he can run the ball, even showing off the capabilities of a guy like Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, who Clemson is very familiar with.
“Some of it is the same from a duel-threat capacity, and some of it is different. He is a very good player, and like Jackson, if it is not there he has a lot of poise and knows when to pull it down, improvises and extend plays,” Venables said. “He is very (smart). He is a good football player.”
However, Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware trusts his defensive coordinator and knows he will have the defense in position to be successful.
“They do go fast. They like to sling the ball around, they have a great quarterback and their receivers and running back are probably at the top of the country,” the senior said. “We know how fast they are going to go. We have faced some pretty up tempo offenses and have had some success with that so we are confident with our game plan.”