SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After starting a little slow, Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson offense got rolling on its second offensive possession of the game and then opened up the playbook a little, while the defense had 6 first-half sacks.
Lawrence completed 13 of 24 pass for 198 yards while throwing a touchdown and running for another as the top-ranked Tigers took a 17-6 lead on Syracuse into the locker room at halftime. Wide receiver Tee Higgins caught 7 passes for 150 yards, while running back Travis Etienne rushed for 40 yards.
Clemson’s defense held the Orange to 136 yards, while the defense consistently put pressure on Tommy DeVito and held the running game to minus-3 yards. Linebacker James Skalski had 1.5 sacks, while Tyler Davis had 1.5 sacks as well.
Xavier Thomas had a sack as did Isaiah Simmons, while Tanner Muse and K.J. Henry were all credited with half sacks. Syracuse was just 2-for-10 on third down.
The Tigers took a 7-0 lead at the 10:29 mark of the first quarter when Lawrence found Amari Rodgers wide open in the end zone from 16 yards out. The touchdown capped a 7-play, 79-yard drive that took 2:44 off the clock.
On the drive Lawrence hit Higgins for a 16-yard reception and then again for 7 yards before finding Rodgers for a 16-yard pass that moved the football to the Cuse 25. A play later, Lawrence pumped faked the ball to his right and then looked down the seam where Rodgers was wide open for the touchdown.
Clemson extended its lead to 14-0 when Lawrence kept the ball around the left side for a 1-yard touchdown with 5:34 to play in the first quarter. The big play of the drive was a 35-yard Lawrence-to-Higgins pass to the Syracuse 38. A roughing the passer penalty had another 15 yards and moved the ball to the 23.
Etienne then got the ball to the one on the next couple of plays to set up Lawrence’s touchdown.
The Orange added a 29-yard field goal with 12:24 to play in the half and B.T. Potter banged home a 40-yard kick of his own following a long pass to Higgins. That gave the Tigers a 17-3 lead with 4:31 to play in the half.
Syracuse added a 23-yard field goal with 2:00 to play to make the score 17-6.