Before Syracuse’s matchup with Clemson, all the talk was about the elite Tigers defense. Many expected the Orange to struggle to move the ball and put points on the board. As we all know, that didn’t pan out so well. Syracuse posted 27 points on the Tigers, the most points Clemson has allowed so far this season. Why did that happen? The SU offensive line.
The front five for Syracuse has been under scrutiny all season long. In the Orange’s first three games against not so impressive opponents, the unit didn’t dominate the line of scrimmage like many hoped it would. Against NC State two weeks ago, the group was exposed against a physical Wolfpack front seven. Even though Eric Dungey was sacked six times against Clemson, it was still an impressive performance. Syracuse posted 440 offensive yards against the Tigers. On top of that, the Orange collected 28 first downs, compared to just 16 for Clemson.
This game should give confidence to the SU offensive line. We now know the unit is capable of performing well against top-tier ACC opponents. If Syracuse wants to have a chance against Miami next week and Florida State the week after that, the O-line is going to have to prove it can deliver on the road. It’s one thing to play well in the Carrier Dome, but it’s another to invade an opposing stadium and be consistent enough to give your team a chance to win.
We’ll keep an eye on the offensive line moving forward. There’s excitement surrounding 2018 four-star recruits Tyrone Sampson Jr. and Qadir White, but let’s see what SU can do to close the year with the group it has now. The better the unit is this year, the better it will be next year when help arrives.