Though Clemson has played football for 122 years and Syracuse has played it for 128, the two have played each other just six times and five of those six meetings did not occur until 2013.
It is crazy to think that two of the 25 all-time winning-est programs have played just six times. Clemson ranks 17th all-time with 730 wins, according to the NCAA FBS record books, while the Orange ranks 24th with 709 victories.
The Tigers lead the series with a 4-2 mark, though the Orange stunned everyone as it took out second-ranked Clemson, 27-24, in the Carrier Dome last October.
The series got off to a rough start for the Tigers when the Orange, at the time they were called the Orangemen, beat them 41-0 in the 1996 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. The 41-point loss is still Clemson’s worst bowl defeat in the 42 bowl games it has played in.
However, Clemson has had its share of good moments against the Orange as well, though be it brief.
October 5, 2013 – Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins welcomed Syracuse to the ACC with a 91-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter as Clemson ruined the Orange’s conference debut with a 49-14 victory. Boyd threw for 455 yards on 20-of-27 passing, while Watkins caught four passes for 126 yards. Adam Humphries had three receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns of 60 and 42 yards.
November 14, 2015 – Deshaun Watson totaled 461 yards as top-ranked Clemson outscored Syracuse 37-27 in the Carrier Dome. The win gave the Tigers at least 10 victories for the fifth straight season and their first 10-0 start since they won their only national championship in 1981. Watson completed 34 of 47 passes for 360 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He ran for 105 yards and a score. It was Clemson’s first game as the No. 1 ranked team in the Associated Press Poll since it beat Nebraska on January 1, 1982 to win the program’s first national championship.
November 5, 2016 – Clemson improved to 9-0 for a second straight season, rolling over the Orange for a 54-0 shutout. Before leaving the game with a bruised right shoulder, Deshaun Watson carved up the Orange enough to get the win. Watson had 169 passing yards and 32 rushing yards before taking himself out of the game in the second quarter. The Tigers owned a 23-0 lead before Watson left the game. He also ran for a score and threw two more. Clemson’s defense held Syracuse’s high-powered offense to 277 total yards and knocked out Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey out of the game early.
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