Clemson Tigers — 2013 Syracuse Football preview

Boyd is one of the top QBs in the country

As we countdown to kickoff in August, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each Tuesday over the summer. SU will open play in the ACC against Clemson in Week 5.

IS THIS THE YEAR?: Clemson is poised for a huge season, and expectations are running high in South Carolina. One season removed from an impressive victory against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Tigers are the odds on favorite to win the ACC and are thinking about lofter goals this season. With six starters returning on an offense that averaged 41.0 points last season (6th in the NCAA), including Heisman candidate QB Tajh Boyd, there is legitimate reason to think that head coach Dabo Swinney can bring the program’s second national championship back to Death Valley.

» Related: Previewing Syracuse v. Tulane

Tajh Boyd is a Heisman candidate

WHO TO WATCH FOR: No question about it, the biggest story line in the offseason was Swinney convincing Boyd to return for his senior season. The ACC Player of the Year threw for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns (which set the single-season ACC record), while rushing for 514 yards and another 10 touchdowns on the ground. Also, keep an eye out on senior tailback Roderick McDowell. With Andre Ellington gone, McDowell has become the lead back after nearly transferring two years ago. As a backup last year, he collected 450 yards and five scores. If McDowell doesn’t turn into a featured back, D.J. Howard and Zac Brooks are capable rushers, as well. They will be running behind an offensive line that returns four starters, though losing center Dalton Freeman was a big blow.

PREDICTION: This will be a rude welcome to playing in the ACC at the Carrier Dome. Though the Clemson defense gave up 24.8 ppg last year, 2012 Freshman All-American Travis Blanks should help sure up the secondary and the defensive line returns all but one starter from last year. CLEMSON 42, SYRACUSE 21.

For more Syracuse coverage, Like our Facebook page and follow us @TheJuiceOnline.

Avatar photo
About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]