Clemson’s 47-21 victory over Syracuse might not have been the prettiest of victories, but it was still a win.
“We were sloppy in a lot of areas, but we came out of the gate pretty good,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said afterward. “It was 17-0 and then a lot of miscues, some things that we really have to clean up. There were things that we have not done.
“We always talk about, let’s take care of Clemson. Lets don’t lose to Clemson. That means let’s control the things that we can control. It is hard enough to win. You don’t want to make it any tougher. We just did some dumb things. We had some dropped balls, missed throws, a couple of penalties in the red zone. Obviously, we gave up the blocked punt. It is about as simple as it gets.”
But despite the miscues, the Tigers (6-0, 5-0 ACC) still did a lot of good things to. Most importantly, Swinney was proud of the way his team responded to having its first taste of adversity this year.
“We are really proud of our team for how they responded,” he said. “This is a game a lot of teams would lose, for sure. A lot of things in the game that can cost you games… So, we just did some bad stuff on really both sides (of the ball), but both sides responded. When we had to have some drives, we put some drives together. I am really proud of the drive right before the half to get points there, coming off our ten. Then we had another big one in the third quarter.
“Then defensively, we just responded and created some huge turnovers. We were plus-three in the turnover margin and that was certainly the difference in the game for us. Hats off to our guys.”
Record setting day. Clemson has now won each of its first six games of a season by 18 points or more for the first time in school history. The Tigers also opened a season with six consecutive games scoring 37 points or more for the first time in school history.
Unbeatable at home. Clemson (26 straight home wins) now takes sole possession of the school record for its longest home unbeaten streak. The previous record had been set when Clemson went unbeaten in 25 straight games at Memorial Stadium from 1980-84, posting 23 wins and two ties under Danny Ford in that span. The Tigers current streak started against rival South Carolina in 2016.
Etienne ties FBS record. Running back Travis Etienne scored three touchdowns on Saturday, giving him seven total scores against the Orange in his career … the most against any team he has played. The three touchdowns also means Etienne has scored a touchdown of any kind in 41 games in his career, matching the FBS record held by San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey from 2013-‘16. Entering the 2020 season, the NCAA FBS Record Book listed Florida’s Tim Tebow (38 games from 2006-09) and Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon (38 from 2012-15) as the record-holders for most career games scoring a touchdown. Etienne was believed to have broken that record by scoring in a 39th career game against Miami. However, after additional research by ESPN, the NCAA acknowledged an error in its record book and updated it to reflect Pumphrey scoring a touchdown in 41 games from 2013-16. With his second touchdown of the game, Etienne became only the seventh FBS player since 1956 to record 70 career total touchdowns.
He is getting closer. Etienne’s pursuit of Ted Brown’s career rushing record in the ACC will have to wait another week. The Clemson running back came into Saturday’s game needing just 129 yards to break the former NC State star’s 42-year old record. Etienne finished the game with 86 yards, primarily due to cramping that kept him out of the game for much of the third quarter. He will enter next week’s game against Boston College needing 43 rushing yards to become the ACC’s all-time career rushing leader.
Injury update. Clemson had several players who did not play in Saturday’s game. Linebacker James Skalski was held out due to a groin injury. Cornerback Derion Kendrick (knee) was out after being unable to practice last week.
Defensive tackle Tyler Davis was out due to injury, though it was not specified. Swinney said he got rolled up in practice and said, “Hopefully, he will be back sooner rather than later.”
Fellow defensive tackle Jordan Williams was banged up in practice this past week (again, the injury was specified) and sat out the game as well.
Clemson will host Boston College (4-2, 3-2 ACC) next Saturday at Death Valley. Kickoff is set for noon and will be televised by ABC.
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