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Fizz Five: Syracuse’s Keys to the Game in Keeping Up With #3 Clemson

The Orange defense must keep game breakers like Sammy Watkins in check to have a chance Saturday.

Without a doubt, this Clemson Tigers team is the most talented team that has come to the Carrier Dome in a long time – maybe even back to the Auburn team that travelled to the Dome in 2001 that went undefeated just two years later.

Here are some keys for the Orange to keep the game close and maybe have a chance to win it in the end.

Matchup of DBs vs. Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and Clemson offense:

Tajh Boyd is a legitimate Heisman hopeful leading a team that could possibly go to the National Championship game. The Orange’s defensive backs have shown a tendency to lose a receiver early in the year (see Allen Robinson and Tony Jones). The defensive backs will be called upon this week to try to contain Sammy Watkins. Watkins is about as explosive a playmaker as there is in college football. Watkins can score any time he touches the ball thanks in part to his 4.3 40-yard dash speed. Syracuse’s defensive backs need to stay tough in coverage and cannot miss the tackles that they have missed in previous weeks to keep Watkins from ripping off a huge run after the catch, like this one.

Offense vs. Clemson D

The Tigers have the 25th raked scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 17.3 points per game. Granted, Clemson has played South Carolina State, NC State and Wake Forest after facing Georgia in Week 1. Even so, the Clemson defense allowed 35 points to Georgia, who absolutely torched LSU last week with 44 points. Syracuse needs to keep doing what it has been doing on offense with Terrel Hunt at the helm. Yes, Clemson’s defense is bigger, faster and stronger than Tulane’s or Wagner’s defenses, but Hunt has done a good job finding the open man, not being afraid to dump the ball off to a running back, and taking off and running when he needs to. Hunt cannot get away from what has made him successful, even if the other team’s defense is better.

Offense needs to score first

With that being said, it is important that the Orange get on the board first. There is going to be a huge crowd on hand, and while it may not be a sellout, the Carrier Dome crowd will likely be the largest in a while for a football game. It is vital for Terrel Hunt and the offense to score a touchdown before Clemson scores. If the Orange can score first, the crowd will get more into the game. The Dome will be as loud for a football game as it had been since Dick MacPherson, who will be in the Dome, was manning the sidelines. If the Orange scores first, the momentum can swing in its direction and the crowd can have something to cheer and go crazy about.

Impact of the crowd

Speaking of the crowd, it needs to be loud. Make the Dome a home field advantage for once. The crowd is going to be big, so it might as well be loud, too. The crowd needs to get into Tajh Boyd’s head and rattle the Heisman hopeful. This does not just fall on the student section, but the entire stadium. The Dome can be the Loud House again this weekend with a near sellout crowd, and if the Dome is rocking tomorrow, the Orange may be able to feed off the energy.

Shafer vs. Dabo

Clemson has an edge in the coaching category. Dabo Swinney has been the head coach at Clemson since the middle of the 2008 season. And despite calling Jerome Smith “a load” earlier in the week, he knows what he is talking about. In his four full seasons as the head coach, Dabo has led the Tigers to nine or more wins and a bowl game, including one BCS Bowl as the ACC Champion. Scott Shafer’s head coaching career is just four games deep, and even though he did a great job reshaping the Syracuse defense when he came to the Hill, it’s not exactly the same as leading a team to a conference title and a BCS Bowl.

Posted by: Seth Goldberg 


18 Comments on this Post

  1. Scoring first and early spikes the crowd and the defense in tandem.Our WRs need to make themselves a threat for big plays quickly. They must along with the O-line give Hunt the opportunity to move the team without three and outs which will kill the defense all by itself.

  2. Sorry Ron/Russ no real game here Clemson 39 SU 14!! HCSS has to have his best coaching job-ever-just to end up at this score!! You are going to see a Heisman Throphy nominee winner here at the DOME!!

    Do not forget the abused PSU children!! The NCAA did?????

  3. With my morning coffee in hand and on my deck I just read Syacuse.com article from Bud about some letters sent to us SU fans from “them rebals” of SC!!! Like anywhere else in their world there are good ones and rednecks who think their poop just doesn’t stink. One writer seemed like that to me. A souhthern jerk thinking us yankees are just ignorant/abusing people. Yes I did blow it out of contention, but one issue he brought up he was right on and that was tradition and their “taligating”. At todays game check out the tailgating and you’ll see a joke. Yes tailgating in the ACC/SEC is a solid part of the game. But not here at Syracuse! He claimed Clemson’s tailgating is the best and it could be. I have only been to 12 or so other away games that have memorable tailgates. You have to be blind if you think tailgatng doesn’t matter. It is the outfit for that game. It is the perfume of that game. It is the joy of that game to. Syracuse just doesn’t get it. Its tailgating is just gift wrap. Famlies and PLAYERS feel that while they are here checking out the CUSE. REAL cultured football fans of the 21st century want exitement and tradition. The highlight for us sincere CUSE fans is watching the band on church steps on the Quad=WOW and scatterd tailgating like amebas scattered all over the fregging place place. No wonder the rednecks call us backward. Getting pumped up and getting family ready for OUR tailgate where ever that is. Pass the honey mustard please!! Thank You!!

  4. @ chris.. I agree with you bout scoring early. and that means a TD not a FG. I believe that if we win the toss we march down the field. I really believe we wll see what we are made of today.

    @ Terry… Hey man not going to disagree with you on this brother. Cuse fans really don’t understand the point of it. I do know that some do. And that isn’t the stuckup people who have it done for them and call it tailgating. No me and my father have been doing it now for 15 yrs as long as we have been season ticket holders. I know that I am not as good as the southern folks, but I truely wouldn’t mind being with those folks to learn a thing or 2 from them. I have watched alot of shows bout the south doing that tailgate. The one thing that I was just in awe over was. Last yr a team was playing on a thurs night. Their was no classes that day and allowed fans to come in and party all day. Even this yr that has happened. I believe as early as last week. You will never see that happen up here at all. I even had a hard time last yr when the cuse played on a fri. We showed up at 3;30ish to start tailgating. The parking people were trying to tell us to pack our stuff up and move till later. You wonder why this will never work up here.

  5. Sorry Terry. I haven’t forgoten the abused PSU kids as has the NCAA

  6. @Terry,I thought you once said you didn’t get any respect here on the board?Seem’s to me you’ve become one of the leaders here.No,we never forget the victims of PSU’s cult!!

  7. Also if you talk to a lot of southerners they won the civil war.I never thought I’d see the day notherners would look south for sophistication?

  8. Carlton

    Ron, No upset today. Rough day. Glad they came out an play hard in the 2nd half. Talent gap is wide that much was clear. I like what hunt brings but today the oline couldn’t handle Clemson when they had to pass protect. Thought they did a nice job running blocking though. SU’s WR are bad. I would say horrible but broyle is coming along. Showed chad Kelly about 100x today. Probably could have been playing in this game today if he came to the ‘Cuse.

  9. Dr. bill

    This game was just plain old bad!!!! I have to blame our coaches. Why do we have no vertical passing game? Our pass protection looked to be decent most of the day…why are we not throwing the ball down the field…..tight ends down the seam and in the middle….wide receiver slants and curl ins..curl outs of at least 10 yards. We throw passes behind the line of scrimmage and lose yards…ON A PASS!!!
    Are our wideouts that bad?

  10. Dr. bill

    We need some cover corners….in order to blitz as much as we do, we have to be able to cover. Guys just run right through our secondary. R-shard Anderson, what kind of coverage is that?..Unless you run a 4.3, how can you let a receiver get up on you like that and you are still in your back peddle?

  11. @Carlton;

    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate all that I get.

    My take on the game today.

    I thought at first Syracuse was so pumped up that they were blowing their assignments allowing Clemson to score often. But as the game went on I actually thought Syracuse looked scared.

    Terry has been telling me all season that our SS/CB/S would be our undoing against the Tigers. Boy was he ever so right. Where was the double coverage when they threw down field? It looked like there was no communication between the secondary at all.

    Your coaching staff looks at film and finds their weaknesses. They found them in Syracuses secondary. Clemson put Adam Humphries and Martavis Bryant against Dureel Eskridge,Ri’Shard Anderson and Keon Lyn. Those two players tore/shredded our backfield to pieces. There’s no excuse for anything like to happen.

    Syracuse simlified the offense,how in hell can you run the ball up the gut when the defense is putting 8 players in the box?
    How is it that they’re starting Prince Tyson Gulley over Jerome Smith?
    PTG is living up to what Terry thought of him in 2012. Let’s face it,he’s just not big enough or strong enough to run off tackle or guard when the defense is stacking the box.

    Are they giving it to PTG because he’s a senior? Terry if you would have made those statements about TTG this season you wouldn’t have gotten a disagreement from me at all in 2013.

    One other thing,I guess I have to eat my over-all prediction of having a 9-3 record this year.

    The rest of the season is going to be real tough for the Orangemen.

    Well Terry you were right. Go ahead give me hell,rub it in anyway you want to.

  12. @Carlton;

    Syracuse opened the 2nd half by scoring a TD making it 35-14. They had the ball at Clemsons end of the field 3 other times and came away with nothing. Syracuse tried run,run,run and more run. Where were the slant passes over the middle and let the WR’s do their thing?

    Except for that long pass at the end of the 3rd quarter,Syracuse held Clemson to 5 yards of total offense. Five frigging yards!!!!

    I watched the Clemson fans that were at the game and all I can say is they handled themselves with class and diginity. They were great,major kudo’s to the Clemson Fans.

  13. @Terry;

    Two things that made me think we would beat Clemson was;

    Usually history doesn’t lie. It misled me tonight.

    Again I relied on history;whenever in the past Syracuse was given a challenge the team always raised itself up and overcame that challenge. Am I a little disappointed,Yes I am. Am I giving upon the team,no I’m not.

    The big news of today is Wake Forest beat NC State. It’s things like that that keeps me optimistic.

    lets go orange.

  14. Ron,were still growing Ron so keep your chin up!!Im pretty down myself and couldn’t bring myself online after the game!More good news was UVa got walloped at home by Ball St so we should be able to handle them too!Don’t forget the “Cult” victims!!Great showing by the fans Ron give them an A+!!

  15. @More NJHS talent please?Something that is still coming back at us!

  16. @Russell Stugots;

    I know Russell,I have no rhyme or reason as to why Syracuse played like that yesterday. That was their best after preparing for Clemson for two weeks? The players told me they were working hard and were real excited about playing Clemson in the dome and they felt that they could win the game.

    I just don’t know what happened!!!!!! The best part of the game for Syracuse was the 3rd quarter,except for the last play they held Clemson to just 5 yards of offense.

  17. @Cuse Don’t Luse;

    How was the trip to the upstate region over the weekend? Did you make the Syracuse game in time to watch the dismanteling of what I thought was a good Syracuse team by Clemson? To bad you couldn’t have come when Lafayette holds the apple festival,it’s a great way to spend the day. I know it’s to early to ask you,but did you come to a conclusion as to what school your going to attend?

    It really doesn’t really matter,both schools are great schools and both have very good lacrosse programs. Wish you the best kiddo.

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