Syracuse, for the second straight year, is set to host the nation’s number one team. This time it’s Deshawn Watson and Clemson who make the trip to Central New York. While the outcome of the game is pretty much already certain, there are a handful of headlines and things to watch for tomorrow at 3:30.
1. Eric Dungey is out and Zach Mahoney will start.
Eric Dungey has been ruled out of Saturday’s clash against the Tigers with a reported head injury. Dungey missed the last game at the Carrier Dome against a mammoth opponent as Mahoney got the start under center against LSU back in September. Mahoney played decently in his last start, tossing three touchdowns but completing less than 50 percent of his passes. It is bad news for the Orange that Dungey is continuing to struggle with lingering head injuries. Since taking a huge hit against Pitt, he hasn’t been the same. Syracuse may look to play it safe with him the rest of the way, now that the season is pretty much lost.
2. This game should be nothing like the slugfest of 2014
When Syracuse traveled to Death Valley last season, they had lost four of their last five. The Orange arguably out-played the Tigers for three quarters before falling 16-6. Last year, Clemson didn’t have their leader, Deshaun Watson, who may be the frontrunner for the Heisman this year. The struggles of Syracuse’s secondary has been well documented and Watson should be able to pick them apart. Watson is completing almost 70 percent of his passes this season and has tossed 21 touchdowns. With a healthy Watson and a reeling Syracuse defense, it is hard to see this one being a defensive battle.
3. Several recruits will be at the Dome to watch the game.
While Syracuse may struggle on the field, they have the chance to improve the team from the stands. Five recruits are taking their visits to the Hill this weekend to watch the Orange play the Tigers. Among the recruits is Jonathan Jones, a three star outside linebacker out of Oakridge High School in Orlando. Jones, who spoke with the Fizz last week, has Syracuse in his top five, along with Stanford, Notre Dame, Duke and Michigan. Jones would be a huge recruit if Shafer could land him, as it has become very clear that Syracuse needs help on defense.