Clemson erases 14-point lead to beat feisty Syracuse

Dino Babers
Oct 1, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers speaks with the media following Syracuse's 59-0 win over Wagner at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Kicia Sears-The Juice Online.

After grabbing a 14-point lead late in the second quarter, #14 Syracuse spent almost all of the remaining time on the clock giving the game away at #5 Clemson, eventually falling 27-21. The Orange (6-1, 3-1 ACC) stretched their lead to 21-7 on a Garrett Shrader touchdown run with 1:53 left before halftime, but the Tigers (8-0, 6-0) lived up to their ranking by scoring the game’s final 20 points.

SU had a strong first half performance, scoring twice and having another possession end inside the Clemson 30 on four first half possessions, not including one that started seven seconds before halftime. Before the break, Syracuse had 172 yards (averaging 6.88 yards per play), amassed 11 first downs, gave up one sack, and committed two penalties for ten yards, the second coming on a false start before downing out the clock.

The second half was an entirely different story. The Orange gained 119 yards (at 4.10 yards per play), earned six first downs, allowed four sacks, and were flagged eight times for 78 yards. Even though Clemson turned the ball over twice in the second half, SU could do nothing with that good fortune.

In fact, Syracuse forced four turnovers in the game, including turning one directly onto points when Ja’Had Carter returned a fumble 90 yards for a touchdown. That score gave the Orange their first lead at 14-7 with 9:14 left in the second quarter. It was the second straight tally of the game for SU, as they matched a Tiger touchdown with Shrader slipping a 12-yard touchdown pass to Sean Tucker with 5:30 left in the first.

With just under two minutes left in the second, Shrader scrambled into the end zone from seven yards out and Andre Szmyt tacked on his third extra point of the day to give Syracuse their 14-point lead. Clemson worked the clock and field expertly, but Kevin Jobity, Jr. notched his first career sack to help force the Tigers to settle for a field goal to cut the Orange lead to 21-10.

The SU defense stopped their hosts’ first three possessions after halftime, including getting a fumble recovery by Marlowe Wax and an interception by Jason Simmons, Jr. at midfield. No points came from any of those stops and the Syracuse defense appeared to tire after, including committing a pair of late hits that helped Clemson drive for a touchdown.

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The Tigers failed on a two-point conversion after that first score, but got a 50-yard rushing touchdown shortly after, tacking on a deuce for a 24-21 lead with 11:26 remaining. The hosts forced two Orange punts, then added on another field goal after Dino Babers allowed almost 25 seconds to run off the game clock before calling his final time out.

SU got the ball one last time with 1:33 to play and drove to the Tiger 30, but Shrader’s final pass was directed to Oronde Gadsden II, who was surrounded by three defenders. The pass was picked off with 18 seconds to play, leaving Clemson to down out the clock to claim the victory.

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About Jim Stechschulte 856 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse.