When Syracuse comes to Clemson on Saturday to play the second-ranked Tigers in Death Valley, it not only brings with it one of the best offense’s in the ACC this year, but the most improved offense in the country.
Using a no-huddle attack like no other, the Orange are averaging 486.8 yards per game, which ranks second in the ACC in total offense.
“We have not seen a tempo like this,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
The Tigers will occasionally run what they call their “Indy offense” in the two-minute drill or to change the pace of the game. Syracuse, under first year head coach Dino Babers, is always in a hurry. In its upset win over No. 19 Virginia Tech a few weeks back, it ran 100 plays for 561 yards in a 31-17 victory.
“Dino has done a great job with this program and in watching them, studying them this week, it is real easy to see the how the guys have bought in,” Swinney said. “They have gotten better all year long. They are coming off two big wins and an open date to prepare for us, as well.”
The Orange’s big weapon is quarterback Eric Dungey, who is averaging 328.9 yards per game passing. The sophomore has completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,631 yards.
Wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo, who is the brother of former Clemson lineman Etta Etta-Tawo who lettered for the Tigers in 2006 before being forced to retire due to a heart condition, is third in the nation in reception yards per game at 134 and sixth in receptions per game.
Etta-Tawo already has 66 receptions for 1,074 yards and seven for touchdowns. Ervin Phillips also has 60 catches and five scores for the Orange, while Steve Ishmael has 40 catches as well.
Syracuse is one of two schools with at three receivers with at least 40 receptions so far this year.
“We’ve got a big challenge this week,” Swinney said. “Offensively they have got three receivers with over 40 catches and they just throw it all over the place. They do a great job with their scheme.
“The Quarterback is very good. They play very fast. There are big challenges there.”
Syracuse throws the ball 45 times a game, but they still average 130 rushing yards per game. Dontae Strickland is the top rusher with 444 yards, while Dungey is a running threat as well with 289 yards and six scores from the quarterback position.
“They are really playing with a lot of confidence. There’s no doubt about it,” said Swinney. “Our guys have a lot of respect for Syracuse. They did a good job against us last year, especially offensively, they hit a lot of big plays on us.”
The Tigers just hope that does not happen again.
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