Clemson vs. Syracuse prediction: Can Clemson avoid another Friday night horror?
|Friday, October 15, 2021, 8:00 AM- -|
Four years ago, a Clemson team stumbled into Syracuse on the Friday before an open date and suffered a humbling loss at the hands of the Orange. This year, the Tigers head to Syracuse for another Friday game, this one after the open date, hoping to avoid the same fate of the 2017 team.
After a much-needed week of rest and recovery, Clemson will return to action this week when it travels to face the Syracuse Orange on Friday, Oct. 15. Kickoff at the Carrier Dome is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
Prior to an open date last week, cardiac Clemson improved to 3-2 in 2021 with a 19-13 victory against Boston College on Oct. 2. Very few seasons in Clemson's 126-year history have featured the kind of early drama the Tigers have produced this season. All four of Clemson's games against FBS opponents in 2021 have been decided by one possession, marking only the seventh time in school history that at least four of Clemson's first five games of a season have been decided by a final margin of eight or fewer points.
A game with a little less drama would be nice.
RV/NO. 25 CLEMSON (3-2, 2-1 ACC) at SYRACUSE (3-3, 0-2 ACC)
WHEN: FRIDAY, OCT. 15, 7:00 P.M. ET
WHERE: CARRIER DOME, SYRACUSE, N.Y.
TELEVISION: ESPN (Anish Shroff, Mike Golic Jr., Taylor McGregor)
RADIO: Clemson Athletic Network (Don Munson, Tim Bourret, Reggie Merriweather)
SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius 81, XM 81, Internet 81
CLEMSON/SYRACUSE SERIES HISTORY
OVERALL: Clemson leads series, 7-2
HOME: Clemson leads series, 4-0
ROAD: Clemson leads series, 3-1
NEUTRAL: Clemson trails series, 0-1
LAST MEETING: Oct. 24, 2020 (47-21, W)
STREAK: Clemson, Won 3
*Clemson is 31-25-5 all-time in games played on Friday. Friday games were a far more common occurrence in the early decades of Clemson football, as the Tigers played 48 of their 61 all-time Friday games to date in their first 60 years of existence. Prior to this week’s contest, only two of Clemson’s 13 most-recent Friday games have come in regular season play.
Clemson split those regular season Friday games, a win at Boston College in 2016 and an upset loss at Syracuse in 2017. Clemson is 25-20-5 in regular season Friday games and 6-5 in postseason Friday games, including the 1982 Orange Bowl to conclude Clemson’s 1981 national championship season.
*Since joining the ACC as a charter member in 1953, Clemson has played 61 regular season games following off weeks. The Tigers are 42-19 in those contests. Clemson is 15-2 under Head Coach Dabo Swinney when playing a regular season game following an off week, including two such occurrences in the 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Clemson has won 13 of its last 14 regular season games after open weeks, including each of its last nine. Those figures include games following two open dates in the COVID-19-impacted 2020 season, one of which resulted in 21 days between regular season games when Clemson followed an open week with a game cancellation.
*Clemson is attempting to improve to 8-2 all-time against Syracuse.
*Clemson is attempting to win a fourth straight game against Syracuse, matching the longest streak in series history (four from 2013-16).
*Clemson attempting to improve to 4-1 in road games at Syracuse all-time.
*Clemson is playing Syracuse while the Tigers are unranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time in series history. Clemson was AP-ranked in all nine of the previous meetings, including a Top 3 ranking in seven of its eight previous matchups with the Orange. Clemson, however, remains ranked in the AFCA Coaches Poll this week and will have been ranked in the Top 25 of one of the major polls in every contest.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE THIS WEEK
*Ok, it’s beginning to sound like a broken record, but it would be good to see the offense score touchdowns and act like it has some sort of a pulse. Under this particular “want to” are several things that have been missing from the offense this season.
The Tigers are 70th nationally in third down conversions, converting just 39.13 percent (27 for 69). The Tigers converted 46.37 percent last season, 44.20 percent in 2019, and 46.04 percent in 2018. That’s the bar they need to reach if the offense is to get things turned around.
Under the offensive “want to” heading, the receivers need to block better on the perimeter, need to fight for the ball more, gain separation, and quit complaining to the officials – just put your head down and go to work.
A pass to the tight end – at least once in a while – would be nice. And quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has put in the work, starting with his midnight session following the win over Boston College. It’s time to see that hard work pay off.
*The defense needs to stop the Syracuse run game. For those that don’t know, Garrett Shrader has taken over for Tommy DeVito, who seemingly has been around the program for years. DeVito was barely average on a good day, but Shrader is former 4-star prospect out of the Charlotte area who initially committed to play at Miss. St. Shrader is the quarterback who famously leaped into the air against Kansas St. and then helicoptered through the air in a video clip that quickly went viral. When Mike Leach took over at Miss. St., Shrader opted to play elsewhere.
Shrader had 29 carries for 178 yards last week against Wake Forest and ran with abandon. Some runs were designed. Some plays, he simply decided to take off. Other plays, who knows what he was doing, but it worked as the Demon Deacons failed to find an answer. Running back Sean Tucker – who reminds me of Ahmad Bradshaw – is solid as well. These cats can run the ball.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN
I don’t know that we are going to see the offense all of a sudden break out and score 40 points a game. After five games, it kind of is what it is. Which isn’t good. But they can be better. Syracuse is ranked 22nd nationally in total defense but were exposed against Wake Forest, which is probably more like where they stand in terms of ability. The Tigers will get incrementally better on offense, the defense will give up a play here and there and a tight game at the half will turn Clemson’s way in the second half.
FINAL SCORE: CLEMSON 31, SYRACUSE 20
More TigerNet picks
Mickey Plyler - The Roar 105.5 morning show host - 31-17 Clemson
Nikki Hood - Staff writer - Clemson 38-14
Brandon Rink - Associate editor - 26-16 Clemson
Tony Crumpton - Associate editor - 27-13 Clemson
Zachary Wagner - Intern - 24-13 Clemson
Jake Pierce - Recruiting reporter - Clemson 27-13
Pigskin Prophet - 30-17 Clemson
Ryan Kantor - Contributing Writer - Clemson 23-13
|Game||Actual||David Hood||Plyler||Nikki Hood||Rink||Crumpton||Wagner||Pierce||Prophet||Kantor|
|Georgia||10-3 UGA||27-20 CU||27-23 CU||24-17 CU||27-23 CU||28-24 CU||28-17 CU||31-20 CU||23-17 CU||-|
|SC State||49-3 CU||55-3 CU||54-0 CU||56-7 CU||61-7 CU||49-7 CU||55-10 CU||45-0 CU||45-0 CU||-|
|GT||14-8 CU||41-13 CU||51-10 CU||45-10 CU||45-13 CU||38-7 CU||45-7 CU||38-13 CU||48-10 CU||31-3 CU|
|NCST||27-21 2OT NCST||23-20 CU||27-13 CU||17-7 CU||24-17 CU||24-9 CU||24-3 CU||28-17 CU||24-16 CU||24-6 CU|
|BC||19-13 CU||24-20 CU||24-13 CU||24-13 CU||27-17 CU||24-9 CU||24-21 CU||24-20 CU||23-16 CU||23-21 BC|
* Points: 3 pts for best correct prediction of the week (tiebreaker is Clemson score), 2 pts for picking score exactly, 1 pt for picking the correct winner