Instant Juice: Syracuse 21, Clemson 27

Clemson Syracuse Football
Syracuse receiver Anthony Queeley (14) breaks a tackle by Clemson cornerback Fred Davis II(2) during their game, Oct 24, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

A quick take on No. 18 Syracuse’s 27-21 loss to No. 4 Clemson:

WHAT HAPPENED: Up 21-10 heading into the fourth quarter, silly penalties, poor offensive play calling and a tired defense allowed Clemson to survive Syracuse’s upset bid. The Orange retook possession with 1:38 left down 27-21 with a chance to win, but RJ Mickens intercepted Garrett Shrader with 16 seconds left after Syracuse had moved the ball to the Clemson 30.

ANALYSIS: In a barometer game to see how Syracuse stacked up against a potential College Football Playoff Team, the Orange showed that they can keep up with college football royalty, but lacks just enough playmakers (and discipline) to truly compete. The Orange saw its six-game winning streak snapped and will likely fall a bit in the AP and Coaches Polls. Still, given they just played a spirited battle against the Tigers, who have a mostly clear path to the ACC Championship, it’s not likely to hurt SU as much. For those who believe in moral victories of playing a competitive game against a far superior (in talent) opponent, this would certainly fall into that category as the Orange started this game as 13.5 point underdogs.

HERO: Syracuse’s defense forced four turnovers and ended up forcing Clemson to bench starting QB DJ Uiagalelei who had thrown two interceptions and just 138 yards. Ja’Had Carter was particularly impressive, accounting for an interception in the red zone and a fumble recovery which he took 90 yards for the score in the first half.

» Related: Ranking the remainder of Syracuse’s football schedule

ZERO: Syracuse’s play calling was questionable in the second half, and Sean Tucker rushed just five times for 54 yards  Shrader on top of the game ending interception only threw for 167 yards. And of course, several penalties really hurt the Orange including two personal fouls on a key Clemson drive in the second half. Overall SU committed 10 penalties for 88 yards.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to face Notre Dame on Saturday, Oct. 29 at either 12 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. on ABC or ESPN.

For more Syracuse coverage, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and listen to our podcast.

Avatar photo
About Wes Cheng 2831 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com 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]sujuiceonline.com.