If there is any team that has given top-ranked Clemson a consistent run for its money, it’s Syracuse. The Orange have been relentless the last couple of years and they don’t plan on easing off of the Tigers anytime soon.
Two years ago, Clemson traveled to Syracuse for a Friday night matchup, and the outcome stunned everyone as the Orange upset the Tigers with a 27-24 victory.
Fast forward a year later at Death Valley and it looked as if the Orange may pull off the shocker again.
After Trevor Lawrence was knocked out of the game due to injury in the second quarter, backup quarterback Chase Brice stepped up and saved the day when he led Clemson to a 27-23 victory.
As the Tigers head back to the Dome this week, offensive coordinator Tony Elliott knows it will be a challenge as always.
“It’s going to be loud contrary to what you may think,” Elliott said on Monday. “It’s going to be hostile. We have to make sure that we block out the noise and focus on ourselves. We have to throw what happened last week out the window. This is a team, that at that time, didn’t have a winning record and they beat us up there on a Friday night. This is a team that is confident. They feel like they played with us last year, they beat us two years ago.
But Syracuse is coming off of a 63-20 loss at Maryland this past Saturday.
“So this is a team that you can’t look at what happened to them last week and think you’re just going to walk in there and they’re going to lay down,” Elliott said. “They still have everything on the table for them. It’s a division game, they’re undefeated in the division just like we are so this is going to be a situation where we have to control what we can control and not get distracted by anything other than coming from the outside. These guys are going to come to play. It’s a very, very good football team despite maybe the outcome last week.”
But now two teams from the ACC’s Atlantic Division are facing off and Elliott knows how much of an impact home field advantage can be for the Orange.
“What I remember from the first time going up there is there’s a lot of tradition you may not know about Syracuse football where we are,” he said. “But they have the plaques of the players up on the wall and you see that these guys have tradition and pride. Their fans get into it. They do a good job of getting into it when they can just like we do in our stadium when the defense is on the field.
“Again, it gets louder than what you think it would be. The noise is trapped in there. It’s going to be a hostile environment. It’s homecoming for them. Their guys are going to be excited and again, it’s a division game. Everything is still on the table for both teams.”
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