For a lot of the players on the Clemson football team, Saturday’s game in Syracuse, New York will be just another road trip. For others, it might be the first time they have ever traveled this far to play a football game. For some it will probably be the first time they will travel on a plane.
The first road game of the year is unique for any team because it is a little different than playing at home. It is especially unique when you’re the defending national champions and the No. 1-ranked team in the country and your first road trip is to a place that is nicknamed “The Loud House” and the game has already been announced as the first sellout there in 21 years.
Those are some of the things the Tigers will be experiencing Saturday when they visit The Dome for a 7:30 p.m., nationally televised game at Syracuse.
“I’m just excited to go on the road,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “Obviously, I love playing at home. It is a simpler Friday for us and things like that and, obviously, after the game and postgame. I am not looking forward to getting home at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. I am definitely not looking forward to that, but it is just fun to go on the road.
“I think it is just something exciting about it.”
Swinney says when they are at Death Valley, the entire team is together. Everybody is on the sideline, but for an ACC road game they can take just 72 players, and everybody is against them.
“There is just something fun about that,” he said. “As a competitor you just love it.”
The Clemson coach is also anxious. He wants to see his team go and play in that atmosphere at Syracuse and see how they respond.
The Tigers have won 19 of their last 20 road games, but this is a different team, and this is the first time they have to go and prove themselves on the road.
“We have a bunch of young guys. I want to see how they’re going to handle it,” Swinney said. “It is always a good time to load up the plane and I am sure someone has not flown yet. Every year there is at least one, but I enjoy being with them. I enjoy hanging with them. It is just a little more time hanging out on the plane and then we have our normal routine when we get up there.
“We will actually go to the dome on Friday night for just a few minutes to let a lot of these guys walk around and check it out.”
Clemson will leave Friday afternoon for Syracuse.
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