Syracuse, N.Y. – A quick take on Syracuse’s one-sided 49-14 loss to the impressive Clemson Tigers in the Orange ACC debut, in front of an enthusiastic-turned quiet announced Dome crowd of 48,961, including ACC Commissioner John Swofford, on Homecoming Weekend:
WHAT HAPPENED: The No. 3 Tigers (5-0, 3-0) led 7-0 after just 38 seconds and 21-0 after the first quarter thanks to three scoring drives of 82, 92, and 75 yards that sure looked easy under the pinpoint passing of QB Tajh Boyd. It was 35-7 at halftime before SU showed some life scoring on the initial second half possession, but Ryan Norton then shanked a 42 yard FG attempt following an acrobatic Ritchy Desir interception midway through the third quarter, and the Orange (2-3, 0-1) offense stalled on a fourth down play in an ensuing series deep in Clemson territory. Two plays later Boyd hit the fleet Sammy Watkins for a 91 yard TD bomb that ended matters with 0:40 left in the third quarter.
ANALYSIS: It was easy to see the difference in overall talent and speed as the Tigers sprinted out to a 28 point halftime lead, and despite a spirited fight by the hometown team in the third quarter, the Tigers, on a season-long mission to Pasadena for the BCS title game, treated the contest as a business trip to central New York with one purpose, leave the Dome 5-0. Mission accomplished.
HERO: It was easy to see why the senior Boyd is near the top of the Heisman race. He tied his career high with five TD passes and was 20 for 27 with 455 yards overall. His 91 yard heave to Watkins sprinting right by ‘Cuse CB Ri’Shard Anderson was a thing of beauty. And, he’s also hard to tackle.
ZERO: Despite his best efforts, Terrell Hunt and the Orange offensive unit was too inconsistent against an athletic and stifling Clemson defense. The lack of speed at the WR position allows opposing defenses to cheat against the run (despite Jerome Smith’s 125 yard game), and speed at the position is near the top of the recruiting wish list. The defensive secondary continued to play too loose against a Tigers receiving corps that ran up and down the Dome field turf all game, CU finished with 460 yards in the air.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse heads to Raleigh, N.C. for its first ACC road game next Saturday against N.C. State. SU has never beaten the Wolfpack in six prior meetings dating back to the 1970s, last playing in 1998 at Carter-Finley Stadium. Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET. TV: ACC (Reg. Sports Networks)