CLEMSON, SC. — It’s Game Day in Death Valley where No. 2 Clemson battles undefeated Syracuse as the Tigers’ hope to continue their run to an ACC Championship and a trip to the College Football Playoff.
Location: Memorial Stadium (Death Valley)
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m.
Announcers: Todd Blackledge, Saun McDonough, Holly Rowe
2018 Record: Clemson 4-0, Syracuse 4-0
ACC Record: Clemson 1-0 Syracuse 1-0
Series History: Clemson leads 4-2
Last Meeting: Syracuse won 27-24 in 2018 at the Carrier Dome
WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK
– Clemson attempting to open 5-0 for the fourth straight season and for the sixth time in the last eight years.
– Clemson winning its first five games of a season for the sixth time under Head Coach Dabo Swinney (2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017). Clemson’s five 5-0 starts under Swinney are already the most under any head coach in school history (Josh Cody, 3; Frank Howard, 2; Danny Ford, 2; Tommy Bowden, 1; John Heisman, 1)
– Clemson winning its first ACC home game of the season for an eighth consecutive year. Clemson has won every ACC home opener dating back to 2011. An eighth straight victory by Clemson in its ACC home opener
would match the longest streak in program history, set across the 1964-71 seasons under head coaches Frank Howard and Cecil Ingram.
– Clemson winning the 23rd of its last 24 games against ACC Atlantic Division opponents. – Clemson improving to 5-2 all-time against Syracuse,
including a 3-0 record in games played at Clemson.
– Clemson winning its 11th consecutive game at Memorial Stadium, dating back to a 56-7 win against South Carolina on Nov. 25, 2016. The current 10-game streak is Clemson’s third-longest home winning streak in Dabo Swinney’s tenure as head coach (21 from 2013-16, 13 from 2011-12).
SERIES HISTORY VS. SYRACUSE
This is just the seventh meeting between Clemson and Syracuse. The Orange won the first meeting at the 1996 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville following the 1995 season by a 41-0 score. Clemson was ranked 23rd entering the game and was coming off a five-game winning streak to close the season. Syracuse was unranked going into the game, but jumped to 17th in the final USA oday poll with the win quarterbacked by Donovan McNabb.
Since Syracuse joined the ACC in 2013, Clemson has won four of the five meetings. The Tigers had won four in a row by at least double digits before Syracuse ended the streak with a 27-24 Friday night win over the Tigers at Syracuse.
CZONKA NEARLY A TIGER?
All-time Syracuse great Larry Czonka visited Clemson during his recruiting process in 1963 reportedly considered Clemson, Vanderbilt, Iowa and Syracuse. Recruited by Clemson Coach Frank Howard, Czonka would have been a freshman at Clemson in 1964 and then played from 1965-67. Even without Czonka, the Tigers won the ACC in all three seasons.
“The explosive play is alive and well in our offense.” That was the exact quote from Head Coach Dabo Swinney following a Sept. 15 victory against Georgia Southern. Improving the team’s explosiveness and ability to create chunk plays had been a primary focus for the offense leading up to the 2018 season, and that focus has paid off thus far this season.
CLOSE GAME SUCCESS
Clemson’s stretch of consecutive 10-win seasons dating back to 2011 has been bolstered significantly by the team’s success in close games in that span.
The Tigers have played 27 games with a final margin of eight points or less, and Clemson’s 85.2 winning percentage in those one-possession contests is the best in the country in that span.
#16 TREVOR LAWRENCE, QB
Between the explosive debuts of C.J. Spiller, Sammy Watkins and Deshaun Watson, Clemson has had no shortage of superlative freshmen in the last dozen years.
Four games into 2018, true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence is making his case to be considered among that illustrious group.
With his next touchdown pass, Lawrence can become only the second true freshman and fourth freshman overall in Clemson history to record double-digit touchdown passes.
Robert – Clemson 52, Syracuse 21
Will – Clemson 42, Syracuse 17