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What you need to know: No. 2 Clemson at Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Second-ranked Clemson Tigers travel to Syracuse, N.Y., for tonight’s showdown with the Syracuse Orange.

The question of the week has been the health of quarterback Kelly Bryant and his left ankle. Bryant injured the ankle in last week’s win over Wake Forest. He left the game in the third quarter. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said on Wednesday that Bryant will “be ready to roll.”

Friday night’s contest is the 1,300th in the 128-year history of the Syracuse program.

 

Game information:

Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.

Records: Clemson 6-0, 4-0 ACC; Syracuse 3-3, 1-1 ACC

When:  7 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: 105.5 in the Upstate (Clemson Tigers Radio Network); SiriusXM Radio Ch. 81

Latest Line: Clemson favored by 24 points

Series: Clemson leads 4-1 (Clemson has won four straight)

First meeting: 1996 Gator Bowl, Syracuse won 41-0

Last year: Clemson won 54-0

Injury Report:  Out for Season: Richard Yeargin, DE, Neck; Logan Rudolph, DE, Shoulder; Cole Renfrow, TE, Knee; Greg Huegel, PK, Knee. Out this Game: Garrett Williams, TE, knee; Tucker Israel, QB, illness; Marcus Edmond, CB, foot; Jalen Williams, LB, shoulder. Will Play: Kelly Bryant, QB, ankle.

Three story lines

How much will Kelly Bryant play? Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said on Wednesday night that Bryant was ready to roll. But how effective will he be, especially in the running game? One has to wonder if Bryant is limited, how long will he play and how much will Hunter Johnson and Zerrick Cooper play?

Syracuse is averaging 84 plays a game and plays with a tempo that makes Clemson’s seem slow. If the Orange can get things going, it could get Clemson on its heels because of the Tigers’ lack of depth at defensive end.

Clemson is looking for its 11th straight win overall, but it will be looking for its 13th straight win on the road. The 11-game win streak is the nation’s longest active, while the road win streak is tied with Alabama as the nation’s second longest behind Oklahoma’s 14.

Syracuse players to watch

Eric Dungey, QB: Dungey ranks in the top 10 nationally in completions per game (4th-28.0), passing yards (8th-1,802) and total offense yards per game (5th-354.5). His 17 touchdowns responsible for are more than Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (16) and USC’s Sam Darnold (15). In addition, Dungey’s eight rushing scores are more than reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson (7).

Steve Ishmael, WR: Through six games, Ishmael leads the nation in receptions (56) and receiving yards (729). For comparison, the Miami, Fla. product notched 48 catches for 559 yards in 11 contests in 2016. Ishmael is 24 yards shy of passing Shelby Hill (2,296 yards, 1990-93) for third place on the program’s all-time receiving yardage list.

Parris Bennett, LB: Bennett has recorded 10-plus tackles in each of the past three games. Bennett finished with 14 stops last week against Pittsburgh, three shy of matching his career high. The Detroit, Mich., native has recorded 10-plus tackles, 11 times in 34 career games and ranks fourth in the ACC in tackles per contest (9.3).

Syracuse Scouting Report

Syracuse has held its opponents to 24.3 points per outing this season, an improvement of 14.3 points per game from last year (38.6). The Orange are on pace for the best one-year turnaround in team history.

Syracuse is the only FBS team with two players who have 170-plus career receptions (Ervin Philips–186, Steve Ishmael–170). Philips ranks second on the program’s ledger for career receptions, while Ishmael is third on the list. Alec Lemon holds the Syracuse record, hauling in 201 receptions from 2009-12.

The pair has combined for 108 catches for 1,204 yards in 2017. Ishmael leads the way with 56 receptions for 729 yards, while Philips has 52 catches for 475 yards. Their 108 combined receptions account for 55.1 percent of Syracuse’s total catches, while their 1,204 receiving yards represent 57.1 percent of the team’s production.

Ishmael and Philips rank first and second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in receptions per game and first and fourth nationally.

Eric Dungey is 31 yards shy of 1,000 career rushing yards. When he reaches the plateau, Dungey will be the sixth Orange signal-caller to hit the milestone, joining Bill Hurley (2,551 yards), Donovan McNabb (1,561), Don McPherson (1,251), Walley Mahle (1,150) and Dave Warner (1,139).

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