Countdown to kickoff: Trevor Lawrence era kicks off on Saturday

Countdown to kickoff: Trevor Lawrence era kicks off on Saturday

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Countdown to kickoff: Trevor Lawrence era kicks off on Saturday

Syracuse at No. 2 Clemson

The Trevor Lawrence era at quarterback will officially begin Saturday when No. 2 Clemson host Syracuse at noon at Clemson’s Death Valley.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced earlier this week that Lawrence will get his first start for the Tigers. It has been a dramatic week for the Tigers after senior quarterback Kelly Bryant announced his displeasure on the decision by quitting the team and announcing he will transfer to another school.

The Tigers (4-0, 1-0 ACC) will try to right the ship without Bryant the rest of the year behind the right arm of Lawrence, who leads the ACC in yards per attempt (10.0) and quarterback efficiency (191.8). He also is second in the conference in touchdowns thrown with nine.

Lawrence has thrown for 600 yards, while completing 39-of-60 passes (65 percent). He has nine touchdowns to two interceptions.

Game information:

Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson

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

When: Saturday, Noon

TV: ABC

Radio: 105.5 in the Upstate (Clemson Tigers Radio Network); Sirius XM Radio Ch. 98

Latest Line: Clemson (minus-24)

Series: Clemson leads 4-2

Last year: Syracuse won 27-24 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse

Three story lines

Freshman Trevor Lawrence will make his first start at quarterback for the Tigers. Last week, Lawrence came off the bench at Georgia Tech and led Clemson to a 49-21 victory as tossed four touchdown passes and completed 13-of-18 passes for 176 yards. He led the Tigers to five touchdowns in the six possessions he quarterbacked.

Can Clemson get revenge on the Orange after last year’s upsetting loss at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse ran up and down the field on Clemson’s proud defense as quarterback Eric Dungey ammased 339 total yards and threw three touchdown passes.

Syracuse is 4-0 for the first time since 1991. That year, the Orange finished 10-2.  It’s just the fourth 4-0 start since the end of World War II for a Syracuse football team. The other four were 1959, 1960, 1987 and 1991. Syracuse finished the season unbeaten in two of those years (1959 and 1987) and ended up in the top 20 of the final Associated Press Poll in each of those four seasons.

Syracuse players to watch

Eric Dungey, QB: He is averaging 294.3 career yards of total offense per game, which is tied for third among active FBS quarterbacks. West Virginia QB Will Grier leads the way at 302.1 yards per game.

Dontae Strickland, RB: He has five rushing TDs, a mark that ties for the ACC lead and ranks 12th nationally.

Jamal Custis, WR: The redshirt senior has three touchdown receptions through the first four games, one more than he had in 27 career games coming into 2018.

Syracuse scouting report

The Orange have run more than 75 plays in each of their first four contests, including three games with 80-plus. The Orange’s 334 plays (83.5 avg.) are tied for the sixth-most in the FBS, however, two of the six teams tied or ahead of Syracuse in that department have played an additional game.

Twenty-six of Syracuse’s 32 scoring drives (81.3 pct.) this season have been under three minutes. In fact, 18 of those drives (56.3 pct.) have been less than two minutes.

Syracuse is tied for eighth nationally with five scoring drives under one minute. Alabama leads the FBS ranks with 10. Clemson also has five drives of less than a minute that have resulted in points.

Dungey is Syracuse’s leading rusher so far in 2018 with 354 yards on 51 carries (6.9 avg.). He is sixth in the ACC in rushing at 88.5 yards per contest and he ranks 14th nationally in yards per carry.

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