Syracuse might catch a big break heading to Death Valley, Saturday.
Clemson announced that top rusher Adam Choice is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee. The news did not get better for the Tigers as top tight end Jordan Leggett torn his meniscus and will be out a few weeks.
The injuries come at a bad time for the Tigers, as their offense has been stagnant ever since starting quarterback Deshaun Watson went down with a hand injury against Louisville. Senior Cody Stoudt took over against the Cardinals and finished with 162 passing yards and an interception. Stoudt had a decent game last week against Boston College with 285 passing yards, as the Tigers were able to escape the upset 17-13.
RB Tyshon Dye could return for the Tigers this week. Dye injured his Achilles injury earlier this season. Head coach Dabo Swinney says Dye’s status will depend on how he does in practice this week. Wayne Gallman, C.J. Davidson and D.J. Howard will lead the running game if Dye cannot play this Saturday.
Regardless of who is at running back this week, Syracuse has a good chance to stop the uncertain running game and focus on Stoudt. Clemson is without its starting QB, RB, and TE, giving the Orange defense a golden opportunity to capitalize on any mistakes the Tigers make. The Orange had a slow start to winning the turnover battle earlier in the season. The defense was able to turn things around against Everett Golson and the Irish with two interceptions while consistently forcing turnovers against lesser teams, most recently with fumble and interception returns for touchdowns against Wake Forest.
The injuries should also change the way Scott Shafer and Chuck Bullough align defensive schemes. When healthy, Clemson usually uses its athletic ability and speed to blow by defenses. While they still have a plethora of athletes as backups, Syracuse can take advantage of Clemson’s personnel changes with an increased focus on stopping big plays. If the Orange can stop Clemson’s home-run plays and make tackles in space, they can keep the game in striking distance.
The Orange is not expected to win in its first trip to Death Valley. However, with Clemson dealing with injuries and avoiding upsets the past two weeks against Louisville and Boston College, the Tigers look vulnerable enough for the Orange to rattle their cage.
Posted: Zephan Mayell