|by Mickey Plyler - Radio Host - Monday, October 7, 2013 10:53 AM||
There was a lot of talk about Syracuse coming into its first game in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
There was a lot of talk about the Carrier Dome's humidity.
There was talk last week about Syracuse staying in the game against Clemson by feeding off of the crowd noise.
What should have been discussed more was the now obvious difference in talent and speed between the Tigers and the Orange.
The pre-game discussion was spot on concerning the crowd noise. At times, I thought it was one of the loudest conference road games I have been to in recent years. I thought it was as loud as any venue other than Clemson I have been to in the past few seasons.
In the end Clemson was the better team, the faster team, the quicker team, the deeper team with the better quarterback and better staff. All of that resulted in a 49-14 road blowout by the Tigers.
If some teams' offense plays well for only the first 25 minutes of the game, they might be in trouble. But the Tigers have the kind of players, staff and scheme that they can cut you early and just let you bleed to death. Clemson scored 35 points in the first quarter and a half then played well on offense only when it had to.
Defensively, Clemson once again played well with the exception of a handful of big plays. Those huge gains are a concern but I feel great about the defense that dominated throughout the game.
Clemson intercepted four passes and shutdown the Syracuse passing game. Darius RobinsonDarius Robinson
#8 5-10, 175
College Park, GA
View Full Profile had two picks, Bashaud BreelandBashaud Breeland
RS Jr. Cornerback
#17 6-0, 195
View Full Profile had one on a beautiful play and Jayron KearseJayron Kearse
#20 6-4, 205
Fort Myers, FL
View Full Profile ended an Orange threat with his first interception.
Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
RS Jr. Defensive End
#3 6-3, 225
View Full Profile and Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett
Jr. Defensive Tackle
#50 6-1, 290
View Full Profile controlled the line of scrimmage. Beasley had two more sacks and four tackles for loss. Jarrett dominated Syracuse's All-American center candidate. In watching the replay, I noticed Chris Spielman say Jarrett is the best defensive tackle he has seen on film or in person this season.
Offensively, Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
View Full Profile broke his own school record of 428 yards with 455 yards passing. The Heisman candidate also had five more touchdown passes including the second longest touchdown pass in Clemson history when he hooked up with Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Jr. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL
View Full Profile on a 91-yard masterpiece. Watkins reminded me of a center fielder tracking down a ball in the ally when he ran down Boyd's deep ball.
Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
Jr. Wide Receiver
#13 5-11, 190
View Full Profile had a career day with three catches for 118 yards and two scores. It was a career high for yards and touchdowns. He had all of it in the first quarter. Humphries also had 40 punt return yards, the most by a Tiger in over two years.
Watkins and Humphries both went over 100 yards receiving, just the fifth time in Clemson history the Tigers have had two 100-yard receivers in the same game. The Tigers did it last year against NC State.
The running game was balanced with a running back by committee. Rod McDowell, Zac BrooksZac Brooks
So. Running Back
#24 6-1, 185
View Full Profile and CJ Davidson had solid outings despite Syracuse's determination to stop the run at all costs.
The 35-point win on the road was not perfect. The offense had lapses and moments where they appeared to lack purpose and focus. The Tigers also threw two interceptions on tipped balls. The defense gave up a couple of huge plays and allowed over 300 yards rushing. That stat is a little misleading due to a long run on a fake punt. The first kickoff was a mess. The Tigers botched a few series and ruined great field position by not scoring more on a couple of great opportunities. But Clemson came into a difficult environment and won all three aspects of the game convincingly.
I thought the most impressive aspect of the victory was the way the Tigers took control of the game early and put the Orange away. Had that not been the case, this one had the potential the be a different contest. Syracuse's plan was to pressure Boyd into mistakes, fuel the energy in the building and feed off of the emotion. Clemson had other plans. The Tigers sent a different message and all but eliminated any energy from the home crowd.
I was impressed by this team's focus. They were able to ignore the noise this week and grab an impressive road win over an outmanned opponent in a potentially difficult environment.
The Georgia win was the biggest of the season, but the past two weeks Clemson has looked sharp in two blowout wins.
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