Dexter Lawrence will not say that second-ranked Clemson is looking for revenge when it hosts undefeated Syracuse at Death Valley on Saturday. The Tigers’ defensive tackle says they just plan to be focused.
It was obvious in last year’s 27-24 loss to the Orange at the Carrier Dome, Clemson was far from focused. The Tigers had issues lining up. They were out of position. There were busted coverages and there were way too many penalties.
“They just beat us last year,” Lawrence said. “They came ready. We are just focusing on our next goal, and our next goal is to win this week. I don’t want to say revenge, but it’s focus. It’s no different from last week’s game. Preparing wise it’s just getting the game plan and going and doing it.”
Clemson (4-0, 1-0 ACC) did not carry out much of its defensive game plan last year. Led by quarterback Eric Dungey, Syracuse racked up 440 yards on 83 plays. Dungey completed 20-of-33 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for another 61 yards on 21 carries.
The Orange (4-0, 1-0 ACC) ran for 162 yards overall on 50 carries.
“We didn’t show up. They beat us,” Lawrence said. “They out coached us, they outplayed us kind of a deal. We’ve got to do everything we can to not let it happen again.
“Our focus and mindset was not right. I don’t have an excuse for it. They beat us fair and square. They scored more points than we did. That’s how you have to look at it.”
Lawrence feels the Tigers learned from last year’s game and they are committed not to have a letdown this season.
“As a team, as players, we tried to tell ourselves not to have that type of game to where we feel like or have that type of season where we have to lose a game to get serious,” the junior said. “We’ve been serious throughout the summer and fall camp and in the first four games. We show up on the field.”
So far this year, so has the Orange. This year, Dungey and Syracuse come into Death Valley leading the ACC in scoring (49.5 ppg) and total offense (523.3 ypg).
Syracuse is 4-0 through the first four games of a season for the first time since 1991.
Dungey has completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 763 yards and is averaging 8.4 yards per attempt. He has thrown 9 touchdowns to 1 interception and has a passing efficiency rating of 164.6.
He also leads the Orange with 354 rushing yards. He has four rushing touchdowns and is averaging 88.5 yards per game and 12.8 yards per attempt.
“I like him. He is a tough guy,” Lawrence said. “He has a great attitude. He’s got a lot of confidence in himself and that’s what you want to see. I really like him and playing against him last year. I just really liked his attitude.”
The Tigers just want to make sure they are ready for him this year.