The last time Clemson played Syracuse prior to Saturday afternoon, people wondered if its starting quarterback was going to play the week leading up to the game.
Ultimately, Kelly Bryant did play. However, it was obvious the ankle he injured against Wake Forest the previous week was bothering him as he and the offense struggled in the first half against the Orange.
Then late in the second half, when he was trying to get away from pressure, Bryant took a hard hit and left the game with a concussion.
Clemson trailed at halftime and it was announced later that Bryant was not going to return. Clemson, as we all know, lost the game.
Fast forward to this past week. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced last Monday freshman Trevor Lawrence will be the Tigers’ new starting quarterback based on performance. On Tuesday, Bryant does not attend practice and later sends Swinney a text message saying he is quitting the team and he is going to transfer to another school.
No surprise, probably because of all the drama from the week, and the fact Syracuse is a pretty good football team, Clemson found itself trailing Syracuse 13-7 late in the second half when Lawrence scrambled away from pressure and took a nasty hit to the head along the sideline.
Lawrence left with a head injury and did not return to the game.
The difference in this year’s outcome with Syracuse and last year’s is Clemson came back and won, and it did it with subsequently its third string quarterback.
However, the Tigers’ dramatic win does not seem to be enough for some in the national media. Some are saying Clemson is not worthy of being called a top 4 team right now after the Tigers escaped Syracuse with a win, despite the fact it overcame a 10-point deficit in the final 12:58 and it won the game with its third string quarterback.
Even more puzzling is the fact last year’s loss to Syracuse was excused by the national media, and the College Football Playoff Committee, because it lost the game due to the fact Clemson lost its starting quarterback.
Also, let’s keep in mind this is a much better Syracuse team this year, which some experts were saying good give the Tigers some issues. Last year, that was not the case as everyone just expected the Tigers to rollover the Orange at the Carrier Dome.
What is the difference here? Am I missing something?