A quick take on Syracuse’s improbable 27-24 upset win over No. 2 Clemson in front of a packed house in the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: With Syracuse clinging to a 27-24 lead with 6:10 left in the fourth quarter, Dabo Swinney dialed up a trick play that ended up with punter Will Spiers missing a throw down field to Tanner Muse. On the ensuing drive, Syracuse milked the clock and an Eric Dungey keeper on a third and eight was just enough to mark the ball for a first down with 1:40 left and to power the Orange to one of the biggest upsets in program history.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse coach Dino Babers talked about the Orange getting his spread offense midway into his second season. Was his prediction correct, or what? The Orange outgained Clemson 443 to 317, while dominating time of possession 34:32 to 25:08. Syracuse raced out of the gates, starting the game with a 10-play, 72-yard drive, culminating in a Dontae Strickland 23-yard pass for a touchdown. SU was aided by Clemson QB Kelly Bryant getting knocked out with a concussion at the end of the second quarter, and he was already slowed by a bum ankle. The Orange took complete advantage, never trailed in this game, and drained the clock with a physical, tough six-minute drive to cap an epic upset.
HERO: Eric Dungey threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns, rushing for 61 yard on the ground. Erv Philips went for 94 yards and a touchdown while Steve Ishmael went for 73 yards and another score.
ZERO: Neither team could stay away from silly penalties. Clemson tallied 11 flags for 119 yards, and the Orange weren’t much better, with 12 flags for 100 yards.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse travels to Miami on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 3:30 p.m. TV: ABC/ESPN/ESPN2.