Syracuse will play the top team in the ACC when it travels to play No. 2 Clemson this Saturday. Here is a look at the game:
BACK TO THE PLAYOFFS: When the College Football Playoff rankings were released on Tuesday, it came as no surprise to anyone that Clemson was among the four. The Tigers survived scares against Heisman candidate Lamar Jackson and Louisville in a 42-36 thriller in South Carolina. And just last week, the Tigers had to rally in the fourth quarter to edge Florida State 37-34 at Tallahassee. “The resiliency was awesome,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. Clemson’s regular season winning streak has now reached 22 games, and seems in line to make the playoffs for the second year in a row. Little seems to be standing in the way for the Tigers, with games against unranked Syracuse, Pitt, Wake Forest and South Carolina remaining on the schedule.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS: Any conversation about Clemson needs to focus around Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson. Watson has thrown for 2328 yards and 22 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, and has gained another 331 yards on the ground. He added to his impressive campaign with 378 yards passing and 52 on the ground against FSU, though he did throw a pair of interceptions. “Five hundred and something yards on offense and Deshaun he had four hundred and something yards – 378 passing – he’s just unbelievable,” Swinney said. On defense, interior linemen Dexter Lawrence and Carlos Watkins are part of a group that has allowed just 17.6 points per game. The duo have combined for 10 sacks.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse hung tight against Clemson last season at the Carrier Dome, but ultimately lost to the then-No. 1 team in the country 37-27. It has never beaten Clemson as a member of the ACC. SU won the first meeting between the two teams, when the Orange defeated the Tigers 41-0 in the 1996 Gator Bowl. Donovan McNabb threw for 309 yards passing and three touchdowns.
GAME INFORMATION: Saturday, Oct. 22 at 12:30 p.m. in Chestnut Hill, Mass. TV: ACC Network.